Reckless Sacramento Doctor Causes Brain Injury During Auto Accident, Part 6 of 9

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this traumatic brain injury case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)

In Taylor, the Supreme Court explained the availability of punitive damages to plaintiffs in motor vehicles tort actions:

A conscious disregard of the safety, of others may constitute malice within the meaning of Section 3294 of the Civil Code. In order to justify an award of punitive damages on this basis, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant was aware of the probable dangerous consequences of his conduct, and that he wilfully [sic] and deliberately failed to avoid those consequences. Id. at 895. (emphasis added.) Taylor and Peterson are directly applicable to this case. Plaintiff’s prayer for punitive damages, which is based on Dr. Brown’s awareness of the probable dangerous consequences of operating a vehicle under fatigue and while asleep and her actions of deliberately failing to avoid the dangerous consequences by driving in a fatigued state, is undeniably supported by California law.

Plaintiff has also sufficiently alleged that Defendant’s actions were “reckless” within the meaning of C.C. § 3294. “Recklessness” is defined as:

[A] subjective state of culpability greater than simple negligence, which, has been described as a “deliberate disregard” of “the high degree of possibility” than an injury will occur. Recklessness, unlike negligence, involves more than “inadvertence, incompetence, unskillfulness, or a failure to take precautions” but rather rises to the level of a “conscious choice of a course of action … with knowledge of the serious danger to others involved in it.” Delaney v. Baker (1999) 20 Cal.4th 23, 31-32.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Plaintiff alleged in unambiguous language that Dr. Brown’s actions as described in Paragraphs 12-14, 29, 32, 34-35 and 39 rise to the level of recklessness and malice. Both “recklessness” and the definition of “malice” under Civil Code § 3294(c)(1) are a conscious or deliberate disregard of the possibility of an injury.

In this case, Dr. Brown’s act of driving while asleep was reprehensible. She knew that she was fatigued. She likely dozed off while driving before falling asleep – yet she continued to drive the trip from Sacramento to Roseville. She blatantly violated multiple motor vehicle safety codes and a regulation prohibiting the operation of a vehicle while the driver’s alertness is impaired by fatigue. See 13 C.C.R 1214. Dr. Brown should not have continued to operate the motor vehicle since 13 C.C.R. 1214 provides that no driver shall operate a motor vehicle while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for her to begin or continue to operate the motor vehicle. (See Part 7 of 9.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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