Articles Posted in Bus Accident

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At around 7:20AM this morning, over a dozen people were loaded into ambulances and taken from the scene of a bus accident involving an SUV and a Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) bus in Chula Vista. According to authorities, the bus was parked at a bus stop near East H Street and Paseo Del Ray when the SUV rear-ended it.

The bus was in the process of picking up passengers when the collision occurred. The driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries, and twenty of the bus passengers were transported to local hospitals – including Scripps Mercy Hospital and Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

Seven ambulances were called to the scene of the bus accident. Emergency medical personnel removed passengers on back boards, and some of the injured victims were placed on the sidewalk outside of the bus while they waited to be loaded into a waiting ambulance. The accident is still under investigation, but police say there is no indication that alcohol or drugs were factors. It appears to be a case of simple negligence on the part of the SUV driver.

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This past Thursday, a tour bus accident near Irwindale, California left 52 people injured (out of a total of 55 passengers). The accident occurred on the 210E freeway, just west of the Irwindale Boulevard exit. After crashing through a chain-link fence, the bus overturned on the right shoulder of the roadway. The rollover bus accident stopped traffic for miles. Officers are still investigating the cause.

Witnesses say that the bus driver attempted a lane change shortly before the accident occurred and allegedly hit another vehicle before it veered off the road and rammed through the fence. Authorities have confirmed that the bus driver was properly licensed, but the charter company – Da Zhen – has been cited for various safety violations since February 2013.

The number of unsafe, improperly regulated buses on our nation’s roadways is unsettling. Despite many years of lobbying for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to improve regulations on roof strength, seating compartments, emergency exits, and window glazing, very few safety measures have actually been implemented. Many bus companies have been cited for safety violations, and yet their vehicles are still allowed out on the road carrying dozens of passengers.

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San Diego News 10 reported that 44-year-old Grant Fisher of Escondido sustained serious injuries as a result of being hit by a car on January 19, 2012. The auto accident happened when Fisher was riding in the bike lane on Sorrento Valley Boulevard during his lunch. Police reported that 76-year-old Cecilia Cueva allegedly swerved to avoid a speeding truck behind her causing her to hit Fisher. He was pinned under the vehicle, Which caused severe burns and spinal injury. Fisher was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital where doctors said he may never walk again and will be there for the next month or longer.

Applicable California Law

California Vehicle Code 21658(a) requires the driver of a vehicle driving on a road with divided lanes not to move from their lane until it is reasonably safe to do so. Although Cueva said she never saw Fisher prior to hitting him she will still be liable for his property damage and personal injury. This would include the repair or replacement of his bicycle as well as his medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity as well as compensation for pain and suffering. Since Fishers long term prognosis is doubtful with respect to his ability to walk again, the adequacy of Cueva’s insurance coverage and or other assets are of particular concern (see my prior Blog post on California Law On Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage)

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San-Diego-Accident-Lawyers.jpgSan Diego Union Tribune reported that 20-year-old Landen Swanson of Vista was taken off life support from injuries he sustained in an auto accident on January 9, 2012. Swanson suffered a brain injury resulting from head trauma when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver while skateboarding on Alamitos Way and Orlando Avenue in San Marcos, on his way home from work. According to sheriff’s Sgt. Stephanie Guerra, the driver of the vehicle that hit him fled the scene, but later called police and told them he was involved in the incident. He was later arrested and criminal charges are pending.

Applicable California Law

The driver of the hit-and-run vehicle will face felony criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death (see my prior Blog post on Hit-And Run law in California). Furthermore, he will be subject to civil claims by the Swanson family for the wrongful death of Landen (see my prior Blog post on California Wrongful Law And Survivor Actions). As always, whenever there is a fatality or catastrophic injuries, the adequacy of the responsible parties’ insurance and assets are at issue (see my prior Blog post on California Uninsured And Underinsured Law).

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pedestrian-accident-area.jpgSan Diego NBC News Joseph Young reported that members of a San Diego family were seriously injured in a auto accident on January 8, 2012. The car accident happened at around 11a.m. at the corner of University and 4th Street. The unnamed couple and their 3-year-old daughter were in the crosswalk when a vehicle making a turn through the intersection struck the woman and her child. Cody Defrate, a witness who called 911 for help stated that “The intersection’s crazy.” “Cars turning the wrong way, people aren’t paying attention when they cross the street. It’s not just pedestrians. It’s mostly the cars honestly.” The child and her mother were taken to a local hospital with potential life-threatening injuries.

Applicable California Law

California Vehicle Code 21950 requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. Thus, the driver and owner of the vehicle that struck the woman and her child will face potential claims for their personal injuries. If their injuries result in either victim’s death, their heirs could pursue claims for wrongful death (see my prior Blog post for Wrongful Death Law in California). However, the statute also requires pedestrians to exercise due care for his or her own safety. Thus, if the couple was inattentive and contributed to their own injuries, this could reduce the value of any potential claims.

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pedestrian-accidentSan Diego Union Tribune Pauline Repard reported that 71-year-old Jan Chizer-Williams of San Diego lost control of her PT Cruiser, struck, and fatally injured a woman and seriously injured her boyfriend and son on June 3, 2011. The auto accident occurred on University Avenue and Euclid Avenue in City Heights while the three victims were waiting at a bus bench. According to police investigator, officer Dan Wall, the driver suffered a severe low-blood sugar diabetic episode causing her to loose control of her vehicle, jump the curb, heading straight for the bus bench striking the victims and running into a building. Police and paramedics responded, Wall reported that the 10 year-old-boy was knocked unconscious, suffered a broken arm, multiple cuts and was transported to Rady hospital. His 25-year-old mother was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital where she later died. Her 28-year-old boyfriend was taken to UCSD Medical Center with multiple fractures to his leg and feet.

Our sympathy goes out to the boy, his family and friends of the deceased.

Applicable California Law

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prac_product-liabilityEast County Magazine reported that Carlos Martinez of Escondido sustained serious internal and head injuries when he was ejected from his vehicle. The car accident happened on January 15, 2011 at around 5 a.m.. According to the San Diego Sheriff’s office, Martinez, who was driving northbound on San Elijo Road in San Marcos, hit the center median, which caused his GMC Envoy to roll over. Martinez was ejected from the vehicle and transported to Palomar Medical Center.

Applicable California Law

Martinez will have potential claims for personal injury and lost earning and earning capacity against General Motors Corporation and the dealer where he purchased the vehicle. His claims will be based on theories of products liability (see my prior Blog post for California Products Liability Law). However, it is not clear why Martinez’s vehicle drifted into the center divide, or if he was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. If his conduct contributed to causing his own injuries, any claims he pursues will be reduced proportionately.

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reckless-drivingUNION TRIBUNE reporter Caroline Dipping reported that a 34-year-old woman, her 17-year-old daughter, and the passenger in another vehicle being driven by a suspected drunk driver were injured on November 7, 2010. The accident happened in South Bay, on the 2200 block of Palm Avenue, at around 1:00 a.m.. The unnamed driver of a 2006 BMW was allegedly speeding and driving under the influence, when he sideswiped the victims’ vehicle knocking it into a parked car. According to San Diego Police officer David Stafford, the unnamed woman was taken to the hospital with a broken femur. Her daughter, the driver of the BMW, and his passenger were also taken to the hospital for injuries. The driver was released and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Applicable California Law

The driver of the BMW will face potential criminal charges for driving under the influence (see my prior Blog post for California’s DIU laws). In addition, he will be liable for the personal injuries sustained by the passenger in his vehicle, and the occupants of the other vehicle. However, his passenger’s claim will be reduced if she knew he was driving under the influence and chose to drive with him, thus contributing to her own injuries. If the conduct of the driver of the BMW was reckless enough to constitute gross negligence, he could also be liable for punitive damages (see my prior Blog post in California’s law on punitive damages).

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StorySan Diego News 6 reported that 34-year-old Albert Holman of Mira Mesa was fatally injured while walking home from his birthday celebration on October 25, 2010. The car accident happened on the State Route 56, near Black Mountain Road exit, in Rancho Penasquitos. Holman was celebrating his 34th birthday at an Irish Pub in Carmel Mountain with friends, when he decided to walk home instead of driving because he had been drinking. His body was found on the side of the road early Tuesday morning. Police investigators impounded a Nissan Sentra from a home in Rancho Penasquitos. The vehicle had a shattered windshield, major front end damage, and a shoe believed to belong to the victim waged underneath it. The registered owner of the vehicle, 23-year-old Nicole Koval, who is a Cal State San Marcos nursing student turned herself in to authorities accompanied by her attorney. Friends of the victim say that Koval and Holman knew each other. They had met at the Carmel Mountain TGI Fridays where she worked as a server. According to CHP officer Art Athans, Koval’s vehicle was believed to be the first of two vehicles that hit the victim, criminal charges have yet to be filed. CHP investigators continue to look into the matter.

Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Holman.

Applicable California Law

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LOS ANGELES TIMES article by Michael Fumento illustrates why drivers who text are more dangerous than those who drive under the influence (DUI). Studies show that texting while driving is more perilous than drinking and driving. A 2009 study conducted by Car and Driver Magazine using two of its staffers, concluded that a legally drunk driver responded to sudden breaking better than a driver reading an E-mail, and significantly better than a driver who was texting. Participants in a 2007 Harris Interactive poll illustrate people’s disregard for the laws, despite being in favor of banning the activity. Another study conducted at Virginia Tech, show that texting is 17 times more hazardous than driving and talking on the phone.

Applicable California law

The effectiveness of laws intended to deal with the problem of texting while was addressed at the Transportation Department’s Summit in September. In California, penalties are insignificant as there is almost no enforcement ( California Vehicle Code 23123 and 23124 ). A first offence is a $20 fine, and $50 for subsequence violations, as compared to DUI violations that carry jail sentences, license suspension, and fines up to a $1000 for first time offences. The release of the results of two pilot programs by the Department of Transportation in Connecticut and New York, show that a combination of public service announcements and vigilance by police officers had a significant impact on reducing texting while driving.