(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this vehicle accident/medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)
FACTUAL BASIS OF THE CASE
Plaintiff’s assertion is that plaintiff Kathy White went ATV riding with her fiance and his children. One son, a minor, rented an ATV without receiving the statutorily required training session in handling the ATV, when that minor and the adults doing recreational driving lacked the safety certificate required by law if the minor is not given specific safety training. Vehicle Code §38503. No person under the age of 18 years, on and after 1990, shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on public lands of this state unless the person satisfies one of the following conditions:
(a) the person is taking a prescribed training course under the direct supervision of a certified all-terrain vehicle safety instructor;
(b) The person is under the direct supervision of an adult who has in their possession an appropriate safety certificate issued by the state, or issued under the authority of another state;
(c) The person has in possession an appropriate safety certificate issued by this state or issued under the authority of another state.
Both the company defendant, BJ’s ATV rentals, and the owner, operator, and developer and implementor of policies for BJ’s ATV, John Black, knowingly and intentionally failed to show the youngster the safety methods needed for that rental to be safe, and thereby violated the applicable statute. As a result, the failure of the youngster to handle the ATV properly in a difficult situation caused an accident that resulted in the fracture of Ms. Kane’s wrist, the kind of damage the law was passed to prevent, in a injured person of the class the law was designed to protect.
Later, the care and treatment of that fracture was interrupted by negligent care which caused the development of complex regional pain syndrome (formerly called RSD, reflex sympathetic dystrophy) which has disabled Kathy White and will continue to do so.
There is a first cause of action for medical negligence as to the health care providers, and a second cause of action in general negligence as to Black and the ATV dealership.
Defendant asserts that Kathy White should have sued her fiancé or the child involved in the accident, and that therefore the case against BJ’s ATV and Black is “manufactured.” This is wishful thinking. BJ’s ATV and John Black are the ones who broke the law and rented an ATV to a child that the law recognizes, and dealers and owners like these defendants should realize, needs training before being permitted to get behind the wheel. The defendants, not the fiancee or the child, are the ones most knowledgeable about the dangers of the vehicles the defendants are renting out, and about the applicable law. If the defendants who violated California law want to argue to a jury that the real villain here is the ten year old child who was told by the defendants that this vehicle was safe and easy to handle, good luck. But they can seek that good luck at trial, not at the demurrer stage of the case. (See Part 4 of 6.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.