Ten year old Daniel Pan was run over and killed by a private transit bus while riding his bicycle from the sidewalk into the crosswalk just three doors down from his San Ramon home. Daniel had been riding his bicycle on the sidewalk on the left side of the street. He rode in front of a bus that was making a right turn, and the bus driver did not expect a bicycle rider to cross from her right side. The police report was 100% against the ten year old bicycle rider. All six police officers who responded to the scene blamed the young bicyclist and reported that the bus driver was not at fault. The television reporters all reported that the tragedy was the bicycle rider’s fault.
After meeting Daniel’s heart-broken parents and sister, we undertook our own in-depth investigation, taking the witnesses back to the scene of the bicycle death and videotaping their interviews. We hired experts in accident reconstruction, human factors such as vision and hearing, bus driving and maintenance, bicycle safety, psychology, and forensic photography. We rented an identical bus and hired a child actor who rode the same bicycle at the scene of the bicycle/bus accident and we reconstructed the accident. We filed in Alameda County, where the negligent bus driver lived.
We took a videotaped deposition of the driver of the bus and learned that she was poorly trained and inexperienced. We took the videotaped depositions of all of the witnesses, and learned in great detail everything they could remember. Armed with all of this information, we were able to demonstrate that the bus driver should have expected Daniel to be riding at this intersection because this was the route that many children took home from school at that same time of day. Most importantly, the bus driver should have seen Daniel and had seven seconds to see and perceive him on the sidewalk, and entering the intersection. Although the bus driver blamed a blind spot at the front of the bus, we measured the Daniel’s height and the bicycle, and using the child actor, showed that Daniel was easily visible if the driver had maintained a proper lookout. And we got ready for trial. Finally, just two weeks before trial, the bus company was made accountable.
Our wrongful death specialists successfully negotiated a cash settlement of $4,200,000 on behalf of the surviving wife and two sons of a man who was killed in a commercial bus crash. This case was brought by our bus crash team in the Santa Clara County Superior Court, where the bus company had its principal place of business. At the time of this crash, this bus was engaged in a gambling tour of Indian casinos and was touring Northern California. The crash occurred on a rural road near Fresno, when the bus, travelling at approximately 65 miles per hour, attempted to pass a tractor driving slowly in the right lane on a rural highway. Failing to clear the tractor, the bus struck the rear of the tractor with the front passenger side of the bus. The decedent, who was sitting in the very front seat, suffered immediate life threatening blunt trauma and brain injuries, and died at the scene of this bus crash.
Our bus and transportation accident team successfully represented the survivors of the man killed by the negligence of the bus driver including his two minor children and their mother, the man’s widow. While liability was clear on the part of the bus driver, there were several other passengers who suffered injuries in this bus crash. The policy limits of the bus company were $5,000,000.00 and the proceeds needed to compensate all of the injuries to all of the passengers as well as the surviving family of the man killed. In this case, the economics of the loss to the family were challenging to prove because the man killed had been self employed virtually his whole life and had no good records to demonstrate a steady income. Our wrongful death attorney retained forensic accountants and economists to show the financial loss to the family as well as psychologists to evaluate and demonstrate the emotional harm caused by this loss. Ultimately, our wrongful death attorney were successful in making this bus company accountable for this tragic loss of a husband and father.
For more information on how our San Francisco wrongful death attorneys can help you understand your options and represent you with sensitivity as well as expertise, contact Choulos, Choulos, & Wyle today to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer.