California Family Sues Canadian Trucking Company in Cross-Border Lawsuit
Trucking is an international industry, and there are many trucking companies that operate in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and many other nations. While this allows for the easy transport of goods across the Americas, it may cause issues for plaintiffs attempting to sue trucking companies for injuries. It is a well-known fact that companies can only be sued in the jurisdiction of their incorporation – or the location of their corporate headquarters. So what happens if the trucking company that caused your injuries is based in Canada or Mexico? Does this stop you from filing an injury lawsuit? As a recent case shows, it is still possible to sue a foreign trucking company for injuries that occurred in California.
Family of Deceased California Couple Sues British Columbia Trucking Company
On September 29, 2023, it was reported that the family of a deceased couple was suing a trucking company based in British Columbia, Canada. The couple lost their lives while driving in California, and the truck that caused the fatal collision was operated by a company established in Canada. Although the two parties are separated by an international border, both of these jurisdictions are located on the west coast of North America. The crash itself also occurred somewhat close to Canada on the Washington border.
The first phase of the crash occurred when the deceased couple crashed into a Honda that crossed into their lane. In the aftermath of this initial collision, passers-by attempted to help those shaken by the crash. It was at this moment that a semi-truck approached at full speed, smashed through the wreckage, and killed the couple. The man behind the wheel of the semi-truck was apparently intoxicated and recorded a BAC level of 0.15 – almost twice the legal limit for average drivers. However, the legal limit for commercial truckers is actually half as high – which means that he was actually closer to four times the legal limit. He was subsequently charged with numerous felonies, including multiple counts of manslaughter.
The families of the deceased victims have struggled in their pursuit of justice. The first blow came when the trucker’s charges were reduced to just a single count of DUI causing injury. The second challenge came when they learned that the trucking company was actually based in Canada. Nonetheless, they moved forward with their injury lawsuit in British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada.
The lawsuit will now seek to answer many important questions. The defense seems to be claiming that the California couple was already deceased when the semi-truck hit the wreckage. In addition, British Columbia follows a “no-fault” system when it comes to car accidents, while California follows a “fault-based” system. British Columbia also has a provincial insurance provider called ICBC that essentially holds a monopoly over the entire sector.
Under ICBC, there are specific limits on how much someone can receive after filing a wrongful death claim. This number ranges from just $16,256 to $100,000. This is obviously a far cry from what is possible in California, where plaintiffs may receive millions in compensation for wrongful death claims. In response to these limitations, the family’s lawyer has stated that plaintiffs from California should not be limited by damages law in British Columbia. It remains to be seen how these situations will be handled in court, and none of the allegations have been tested in court.
Nevertheless, this situation shows that plaintiffs in California may need to file lawsuits in other jurisdictions in order to pursue justice and compensation for semi-truck crashes. This may be especially common given the cross-border nature of trucking operations. Even filing a claim in another state may prove to be challenging, as some states have “no-fault” systems similar to that of British Columbia. Still, these challenges may be overcome with assistance from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Where Can I Find a Personal Injury Attorney in San Francisco?
If you have suffered injuries in a California semi-truck accident, consider getting in touch with a qualified personal injury attorney at your earliest convenience. Suing a trucking company for damages may lead to a range of issues, and foreign jurisdictions represent only one example. During your consultation with Mary Alexander & Associates, you can discuss your concerns and ask any questions you might have. Reach out today to pursue compensation for medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and many other damages commonly associated with a semi-truck accident.