Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

One of the advantages of living in a city is the plethora of transportation options available, a stark contrast to many rural or suburban areas where driving is often the only realistic option.  Many visitors and residents of the Bay Area rely on San Francisco’s Municipal Railway (“Muni”).  Unfortunately, Muni accidents involving bicyclists and other non-passengers are an under-recognized danger.  As a San Francisco Muni Lawyer, Attorney Greg Brod fights for people injured by Muni vehicles, bringing an understanding of the unique factual and legal contours of these cases to each representation.

Fatal Muni Bicycle Accident in San Francisco on Sunday

bikeghost2A Muni accident left a bicyclist dead on Sunday afternoon.  CBS’s San Francisco affiliate reports that a 48-year-old cyclist fell between two Muni buses travelling on the 500 block of Market Street shortly before 3:30 PM.  The rider ended up pinned underneath a tire of one of the buses and died as a result of his injuries.  A police spokeswoman indicated that officers will review surveillance videos and speak to witnesses in order to determine what happened and who was at fault.  Muni officials said the bus driver involved in the crash will be tested for drugs and alcohol and Muni will cooperate in the police investigation.  In a separate event, a female rider suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a truck at 4:01 PM near the intersection of The Embarcadero and Chestnut.

The Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies, Alcatraz…and no list of the iconic images associated with San Francisco would be complete without the cable cars.  They are one of our city’s most popular tourist attractions and have been considered special “moving” National Historic Landmark for more than 50 years (per The San Francisco Cable Car Website).  Yet, many are unaware of the extent of the problem of cable car accidents.  Having served the California legal system since 1996, Attorney Greg Brod is ready and able to help residents and visitors alike as a San Francisco cable car injury lawyer.

Cable Cars Among the Riskiest Forms of Mass Transit

This week, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about the problem of cable car accidents and attempts by the city and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (“Muni”) to address the danger.  The article focused on two recent accidents, each of which left a conductor seriously injured.  On April 6, a 53-year-old ccablecar2onductor was assisting passengers disembarking from a cable car on the Powell-Mason line when a car struck him, running him over and dragging him 10 feet.  His injuries included bleeding in the liver, broken ribs, and a broken arm.  Two months later, according to pending charges, a drunk motorcyclist hit a 50-year-old conductor from behind when the cable car operator was getting off the same line.  The conductor remains in critical condition.

Earlier this week, we examined a report on the potential dangers lurking in San Francisco’s BART network and discussed the legal standards that apply to mass transit accidents.  Today, we focus on tour buses, a unique part of the bustling transportation sector in Northern California that mixes transportation, tourism, and entertainment.  We will look at a proposal intended to keep both tour bus passengers and bystanders safe and discuss three tragic examples of California tour bus accidents.  Safety is our top priority, but when accidents occur our San Francisco tour bus accident law firm is here to help.

(image by Greg Goebel)
San Francisco Ordinance Prohibits Tour Bus Operators from Driving While Narrating

According to the Oakland Tribune, on Tuesday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance that prohibits tour bus drivers from simultaneously narrating and driving.  The Board hopes the rule will ensure drivers focus all their attention on the task of driving.   Drivers who are caught violating the ordinance will be cited.

Whether getting an overview of one city or enjoying a trip that incorporates multiple stops, tour buses can be a great option. By relieving tourists of the responsibility of driving, tour buses can allow people to truly appreciate the sights without worrying about watching the road, give travelers a chance to catch up on sleep, or simply allow them to avoid the stress of driving in an unfamiliar area. They should be, and typically are, a safety-minded option. Unfortunately, tour bus accidents do occur. Our Santa Rosa tour bus attorney is ready to help victims when a Northern California tour bus crash occurs, especially when the accident stems from the negligence of the driver or because a dangerous corporate policy put travelers at risk.

Bus’s Second Accident of the Day Leaves One Dead, Thirty Injured

A tour bus crash that killed one and injured 30 others would be a tragedy in itself, but the accident detailed in the San Francisco Chronicle is particularly disturbing given that it was the vehicle’s second wreck in the same day. According to the California Highway Patrol, on Sunday morning a tour bus struck a restaurant overhang in Red Bluff, causing only minor property damage and no injuries. The bus continued its trip from Los Angeles to Pasco, Washington. After travelling approximately 50 miles from the first incident site, the bus was on Interstate 5 about 100 miles south of the California/Oregon border when it drifted off the shoulder, traveled down an embankment, and rolled onto its roof. The second crash claimed the life of a man from the Fresno area and left three others in critical condition. Three additional passengers were in serious condition after the crash and two dozen were treated for more minor injuries and released.

The heart of personal injury law lies at the intersection of the law and the facts. At the Brod Law Firm, we pride ourselves on knowing the law and on our ability to gather evidence to support our client’s claim for monetary compensation. Two important precepts that govern litigation are: 1) Evidence is not simply what happened, but what can be proven; and 2) If it isn’t in evidence (including testimonial evidence and all other forms) then, as far as the court is concerned, it didn’t happen. Surveillance video evidence is among the most powerful forms of evidence in the personal injury arena and a side effect of our digital world is that it isn’t unusual to have an injury-causing event captured on camera. When video evidence is available, our San Francisco personal injury lawyer works to obtain the video and to ensure the video fits together with all the evidence to tell our client’s story and, ultimately, help our client recover all the compensation the law allows.

Video May Hold Clues to Jogger’s Death

A surveillance video may prove critical to understanding what led to the death of a pedestrian in San Francisco on Thursday morning. As reported in The San Francisco Chronicle, 51 year-old Lori Helmer was jogging when she was struck by a Golden Gate Transit bus at 6:15 A.M. According to police, the bus was making a left turn to head northbound on Van Ness Avenue from eastbound Lombard Street. There is a traffic light at the intersection, but it is not yet clear what color light the bus had when it made the turn. Helmer was in or near the crosswalk at the time of impact.

Stalled Transit Bus Leads To Pile-Up

A pickup truck driver had to be extricated from his vehicle after being involved in a collision with two transit busses, including a Western Contra Costa Transit Authority bus, on September 4th, according to breaking news from KRON 4.

The accident apparently happened shortly before 6 a.m. on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 in Pinole. While a full investigation has not been completed, early information from a California Highway Patrol (CHP) spokesperson indicates that a transit bus crashed into another passenger bus that had stalled in the fast lane of the highway. The individual driving the pickup truck then collided with the two busses.

With commercials for laptop computers and old-fashioned spiral notebooks, not to mention new sneakers and stylish jeans, there’s no question that the time children dread and parents celebrate has arrived – Back to School. As classrooms throughout Northern California open, school buses ready to transport students to and from school. Although they rank as one of the safest means of transportation, a recent headline proves that school bus accidents are a reality. When drivers fail to give these vehicles the special care they deserve or when a school bus driver violates our trust and puts kids at risk, our Northern California school bus injury lawyer is ready to protect the young victims.

Suspected Drunk Driver Arrested After Hitting School Bus

Classes had resumed for just one week when a school bus travelling to Union Mine High School was hit by a suspected drunk driver. KCRA reports that 32 schoolbus.jpgstudents were on board when the crash occurred on Thursday August 14 at 6:30 A.M. on Grizzly Flat Road in Somerset, El Dorado County. An SUV driven by 24 year old Steven Gruber hit a school bus on the two-lane road. Police arrested Gruber on suspicion of driving under the influence. Five students and the bus driver suffered minor injuries and two students were taken to the hospital as a precaution. Another vehicle was also involved in the incident, although it is not known whether its occupants were injured.

It was anything but a smooth ride for a woman who was riding on an AC Transit bus with her family almost three years ago. According to the SF Gate, she broke her back when the bus hit a speed bump on its way to a shopping mall. Evidently the bus was traveling double the speed limit when it hit the bump. However, after the woman cried out in pain after her injury the bus driver verbally assaulted the injured woman. The whole incident was caught on tape by the bus’s camera and on Tuesday, the jury awarded the injured woman $14.3 million dollars for pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of earnings. The jury found the bus driver to be negligent and although AC Transit had several opportunities to settle out of court, they refused and paid a hefty price. As San Francisco’s premier personal injury firm, we have represented many people who have been injured in bus accidents and know how to handle these cases.

Who can be Held Liable for Bus Accident Injuries?

It is important to note that entities that operate bus lines can be held liable for the negligent acts of the bus drivers they employ. This is because bus line operators have a duty to properly train their bus drivers. In addition to the bus line operators, the following parties may be held liable for injuries that occur during a bus accident:

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It was supposed to be a get-acquainted trip for students from Southern California who had been accepted at Humboldt State University. But the bus trip to the Northern California college turned deadly on Interstate 5 near the Glenn County town of Orland on Thursday when a FedEx tractor-trailer crossed the grassy center divider, slammed into the chartered vehicle, and created a fireball that resulted in 10 deaths and dozens of injuries. The horrific collision has San Francisco trucking accident attorney Gregory J. Brod noting that the tragedy took place in the midst of an upswing in accidents involving trucks in California.

According to The New York Times, state authorities have said that it could take months to determine what caused the driver of the FedEx truck to cross over the divider and hit the bus, a collision that took the lives of five of the students on board among the 10 deceased that included the drivers of both vehicles; 31 more passengers were taken to seven hospitals. In the chaotic scene that unfolded, panicked children, attempted to flee the bus from its windows or the rear emergency door. Many of the children were limping and bleeding from cuts to their faces.

Meanwhile, the bus and tractor-trailer were engulfed in a huge conflagration from the impact that could be heard from as far as one-quarter mile away, according to Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones, and the collision resulted in I-5 being shut down on both sides of the highway.

“This was a horrific collision,” said Jones, who is also the county coroner. A fire “with very high temperatures” broke out almost immediately after the impact, he said.
There were 47 people on board the bus, including high school students and their chaperones who were from Southern California school districts, including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside. The high school teens were visiting Humboldt State as part of a spring program for admitted students.

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A couple of unsettling factors that investigators will be looking into as to why the driver of the southbound FedEx truck veered out of control before striking the northbound bus will be whether the truck driver fell asleep or whether the truck had mechanical problems. The California Highway Patrol noted that prior to colliding with the bus, the truck sideswiped another vehicle, although the CHP said that it was not immediately clear what role that may have played in the subsequent disaster.

One thing that is clear, unfortunately, is that accidents in California involving commercial trucks have been on the upswing lately, with deadly consequences. According to KTVU News, in 2012 there were 1,015 collisions involving commercial trucks in the state, up from 951 in 2009. Indeed, the crash numbers have been on the rise for the last five years, and fatalities and injuries have also gone up during the same period.

Some of the trucking accidents may have been attributable to improperly maintained vehicles – commercial vehicle license holders are required to properly maintain their trucks in California – or the crashes may have been due to an increased number of trucks on the highway due to an improving economy. But another culprit may have been the pressures of meeting deadlines and longer hauls that may be a contributory factor to driver fatigue, which may have been an issue in the Glenn County crash on Thursday.
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Our children are our nation’s most precious natural resource and they can’t achieve without an education. Safety in our schools has been a hot topic of late, with recent tragedies focusing the discussion on school violence. School safety is, however, a much broader issue and it begins even before children cross the threshold of the school building. School bus safety, a topic that our San Francisco school injury law firm believes receives far too little attention, requires the cooperation of many groups and individuals. School bus drivers, vehicle manufacturers, operating companies, school boards, bus riders, and all the drivers who share the road with school-related vehicles all play a role in ensuring children are safe while travelling to and from school.

CHP Joins in National School Bus Safety Week

schoolbus.jpg Last week, schools in California and nationwide observed School Bus Safety Week. California Highway Patrol (“CHP”) announced its involvement in a press release, stating a desire to bring awareness to the issue of safe transportation for students statewide. According to the CHP, nearly one million students ride on California’s school buses every day, cared for by more than 25,000 certified bus drivers. School bus drivers undergo a rigorous certification process that include 40 hours of training, background clearance, drug testing, and physical examinations. Drivers are also required to hold a current first aid and medical card. Buses also undergo an annual inspection.