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Employer negligence likely in fatal bus-tow truck crash

It is very likely that the tow truck company responsible for the driver and the vehicle that crashed into a Metro Los Angeles bus this week will be held civilly liable for the wrongful death of the bus driver. The fatal crash occurred when the unlicensed tow truck driver was speeding and ran a red light, slamming into the bus and causing the bus driver to suffer serious and ultimately fatal injuries.

The driver of the tow truck is said to be in grave condition from the injuries that he suffered during the accident.

It is common sense to most Los Angeles readers that a company that hires an unlicensed driver with a criminal record should be held to a high standard of responsibility when that employee causes injuries, fatalities, and property damage. The company may be liable under a theory of negligent hiring, since they should have known that a driver with a history of license suspensions may present a higher risk to others on the road, particularly in a job requiring considerable skill and care behind the wheel.

The immediate family of a wrongful death victim may pursue a claim against the company. During this process, an investigation will reveal the root causes of this tragic accident and perhaps determine what could be done to prevent similar crashes in the future. The tow truck company could be subject to fines and additional oversight from regulators and possible restrictions on operations until the underlying problems are fixed. The company will also likely be responsible for compensating the family of the victim for the costs associated with the crash and for the emotional hardship caused by her death.

Source: ABC Local, "Video shows tow truck crashing into Metro bus in downtown Los Angeles," Leanne Suter, June 13, 2013

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