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San Diego Train Crash: Tow Truck Driver Hit in Crossing

Craig McClellan

Tow truck drivers face a tough and dangerous working environment. Their jobs require them to park wherever a customer's car stopped - often in a hazardous and high-traffic area with little in the way of protections. These conditions might explain why tow truck drivers are affected by so many dangerous crashes.

These frequent crashes serve as tragic evidence of potential problems in the tow truck industry. Over the weekend, a San Diego worker died on the job while trying to rescue a stranded motorist. The motorist's car stopped on a railway crossing and a high-speed train struck the tow truck, killing the driver.

Some factors may involve whether the driver's family will be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim to provide for their future.

Many workplace accidents fall under worker's compensation laws. When worker's compensation applies, workers can count on a guaranteed minimum amount to cover medical costs and the challenges of lost income. But these awards are tightly limited - the money is often inadequate to help a family with all of their needs. By relying on worker's compensation, victims and their families surrender their right to sue the employer for the rest of these costs.

Some circumstances might bring a case outside of these rules. For example, an independent contractor is not an employee and is thus entitled to sue for more than the worker's compensation amounts. Companies often hire independent contractors to save on some costs - including worker's compensation insurance. While these workers might consider themselves employees because the company treats them that way, the law has a different rule.

Families in this situation might also have a claim against various parties associated with the train or the railway crossing. It is not uncommon for railway crossing equipment to malfunction, meaning that a worker might not have enough warning that a train is coming. Similarly, if a train is moving too fast for an area, it could outrun the crossing's warning periods. A train company should be accountable for these kinds of deadly mistakes.

No matter the circumstances, families should always consult with an experienced San Diego wrongful death lawyer when a workplace accident is involved. Several options may exist and families need to understand the complex factors that could affect the best decision.