Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roseville Pays Quadriplegic Record $6.4 Million due to Broken Bus Wheelchair Lift

Public transportation vehicles are covered under California’s Common Carrier Law and it requires drivers and companies who are in the business of transporting people to exercise a higher level of care compared to regular drivers.

Contrary to belief, though, this higher level duty of care does not start once the passenger is on board the vehicle but even before the passenger enters and boards the vehicle.

The city of Roseville learned that lesson the hard way as they had to agree to a record settlement of $6.4 million after a quadriplegic man sustained brain injuries after falling from a bus wheelchair lift.

According to the lawsuit filed against the city, Thomas Avery was boarding a bus, which was being operated by the city, through a wheelchair lift when it collapsed underneath him.

Avery fell and hit his head due to the accident.
It turned out that the wheelchair lift either has missing or loose bolts and Avery was the unlucky person to experience its collapse.

Avery suffered brain injury that resulted in short term memory loss and lost sense of taste and smell.

So because of some missing and loose bolts, the city had to pay $6.4 million.

Well they really do not have anything to hold against Avery to discredit his claim.
Under the common carrier law, the higher level duty of care starts when the driver accepts that a person will be his passenger and he is required to provide a safe access where passengers can enter and exit.

And the report says that they failed in fulfilling that duty.
So for public transportation companies, remember that you have to keep a passenger safe even before they boarded the vehicle and until you have brought them to their destination and left them in a safe location.