Workers on California highways will always be vulnerable, whether they are doing road maintenance or picking up litter. Some drivers pay little or no attention, regardless of the number of signs put out to warn motorists of the presence of workers. Many personal injury cases in the state's civil courts involve injured workers and distracted drivers.
The California Highway patrol reported such an accident that occurred shortly before noon on a recent Tuesday. The accident report indicates that three members of a contracted veterans' work crew parked their Caltrans van and its attached trailer on the shoulder of Interstate Highway 80. Their task was to control vegetation and clear away litter along the side of the westbound lanes of the highway.
Reportedly, a pickup truck driven by a 32-year-old Rio Vista man smashed into the rear of the trailer. The force of the impact caused the van to roll over, injuring the three workers. According to a CHP spokesperson, the pickup truck driver and two of the veterans suffered only minor injuries, while the third one's injuries were reported to be major. They were all transported to a medical facility. CHP did not suspect impairment but noted that distraction might have caused the crash.
While workers' compensation covers most California workers, not all contracted workers are eligible for benefits. However, even if they are, an experienced attorney might advise them to pursue additional financial relief by filing personal injury lawsuits against the pickup truck driver. Whenever a third party who is not linked to the same employer causes injuries due to negligence, the victims can file lawsuits in the civil court. While workers' comp will only cover medical expenses and lost wages, a monetary judgment in a civil claim might include pain and suffering and other emotional and financial damages.