UNION-TRIBUNE Reporter Jose Jimenez reported that nine bus passengers were injured when a Mitsubishi Eclipse struck a Metropolitan Transit System bus on March 24, 2010, at around 3:40 p.m., in the City Heights area. The car was traveling south on 37th Street and ran a stop sign at University Avenue. The car struck the eastbound bus carrying 40 passengers, said San Diego police Sergeant Ron Bailiff. The injured, ages 18 to 55, sustained spine injuries to their necks and backs. Two were seriously injured, and one was treated by paramedics at the accident scene. The driver of the car, a male between 18 to 25 years old, tried to leave the scene of the accident; however, his vehicle sustained major damage and stalled on 37th Street. He then ran north on 37th Street and has not been identified. He is suspected of drunk driving, since an open container was found in his vehicle.
Applicable California Law
If the driver of the Eclipse is caught, he will face criminal charges for leaving the scene and for driving under the influence. Furthermore, he will be liable for the victims’ injuries and if proven that he was driving under the influence, he could be exposed to a punitive damage award. If the driver is not identified, the owner of the vehicle could be held liable under the theory of permissive use. If the driver is the only owner of the vehicle and is never identified, the injured can pursue uninsured motorist claims, provided they have uninsured motorist coverage.
Drunk drivers causing personal injuries are far too common. Spine injuries cause by auto accidents and bus accidents can be extremely complex for someone who does not know the law. If you, or a loved one, have sustained serious injuries in an accident, proper advice and guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney is critical.