A 32-year-old man was hospitalized with injuries he sustained in an Anaheim car accident the morning of August 24, 2009 after he was struck by the driver of a city truck at a local park. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, the man was napping under a tree in Modjeska Park in Anaheim, California, when a maintenance worker driving an Anaheim Parks and Recreation pickup truck, cut across the grass towards a trash can and struck the man. The driver reportedly felt the collision and stopped his vehicle to find that he hit and injured the man. City officials, who are investigating the incident, are trying to determine whether there was a “visual obstruction” that could have caused or contributed to the pedestrian accident.
I’m relieved that the city truck did not cause catastrophic or life threatening injuries to the victim. This car crash could certainly have been a lot worse. I wish the injured victim the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. He will be in my prayers.
Orange County Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were six fatalities and 63 injuries involving pedestrians in Anaheim. In Orange County as a whole, 41 fatalities and 726 injuries were reported in 2007 as a result of pedestrian accidents.
Based on this news report, it seems to me that the driver of the city pickup truck may not have been conscious of his surroundings at the time of the accident. In California, similar incidents have occurred on beaches where sunbathers have gotten struck or run over by law enforcement vehicles. Some of those incidents have turned out to be fatal. Two years ago, the city of Oxnard, California, settled with the family of 49-year-old Cindy Conolly of Iowa for $2,.75 million. Conolly’s family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Oxnard after she was hit by a police SUV on June 12, 2006 while sunbathing on Mandalay Beach.
Personal Injury Liability Issues
Operators of city trucks that drive on parks or vehicles that drive on beaches, such as Lifeguard vehicles, must be extremely vigilant and should expect the presence of people around them, whether they are lying on the ground or sunbathing in recreational areas. Cities must have a proper safety plan for drivers of these vehicles and ensure that they are trained on these safety procedures.
The victim in this case would be well-advised to consult with an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer, who has a winning track record of representing clients in personal injury claims against government entities. If the city employee is determined to have been negligent, the victim could seek compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages and other related expenses. Any claim against a governmental agency in California must be filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.