Michael Hatch Accident: Bicyclist Killed In Santa Clara Bus Accident After Shuttle Bus Driver Failed To Yield The Right of Way At Intersection By Great America Parkway and Bunker Hill Lane
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA (October 28, 2018) A 49-year-old bicyclist identified as Michael Hatch was run over and killed by a private commuter bus in an accident near Great America Parkway and Bunker Hill Lane Intersection.
Santa Clara police are saying that the accident happened Thursday around 5:21 p.m. The bicyclist was traveling in the bike lane and had a green light when the bus driver made a dangerous right turn and hit the victim.
A Google Street View of the intersection shows that it’s near LG and the Hyatt Regency hotel. Police officers were quick to list the shuttle bus driver as being at fault for the bus crash that killed Michael Hatch after reviewing traffic cameras.
“Traffic cameras at the intersection were recording at the moment of impact and clearly show the bus failing to yield the right of way to the bicyclist,” according to a press release issued by the police department.
Emergency medical workers rushed to the bicycle accident to help the victim, but Michael Hatch was pronounced dead at the scene.
The bus is owned by El Paseo Limousine and was operating as a free shuttle service for the ACE train. Various news stations have reached out to the company for comment, but so far none has been released.
According to the Company’s website, “At El Paseo Limousine, we realize the importance of your ground transportation requirements, and have been fulfilling them for years in the San Jose and San Francisco areas. Whether you need party bus services, limo service, town car and corporate car service, or a shuttle bus-we have a vehicle to fit your occasion, and a dedicated staff to deliver the best possible experience.”
The bus was apparently full of passengers when Michael Hatch was hit and killed. It remains unclear if the bus driver will face charges after the crash.
An investigation into the fatal Santa Clara bus accident remains ongoing at this time. Police are asking anyone that may have seen the collision to contact Santa Clara police traffic investigator Nick Cusimano at 408-615- 4764.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Buses are an important part of the public transit system in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. On one hand buses can be very safe for passengers. On the other hand buses pose a number of unique risks for pedestrians. Far too often pedestrians are seriously injured or killed in bus accidents. Here are just of few of the most common reasons bus drivers are involved in accidents.
As crazy as it sounds, alcohol use does play a role in a number of bus accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has very strict rules prohibiting drivers from consuming alcohol. But these rules do get broken
It has been estimated that speeding increases the odds of a vehicle being involved in an accident by 30%. This is an even bigger problem for buses. Fully loaded buses can weigh an order of magnitude more than smaller vehicles. This means that it will take them on average much longer to stop.
Driver error has been estimated to play a role in 94% of crashes. And this general pattern holds true in bus accidents. A bus driver may not notice a cyclist in a bike lane and then hit them. Buses tend to have large blind spots.
Defective bus equipment may also play a role in a crash. For example, the brake pads on buses are put under an enormous amount of stress. Periodic maintenance should be performed on shuttle buses, but this doesn’t always happen.
Being involved in a bus accident can be overwhelming. It’s important that victims are proactive in taking steps to secure their rights. Bus companies and their insurance providers regularly try to deny liability or downplay the extent of a person’s injuries. A bus accident attorney can take steps to investigate your claim and make sure key pieces of evidence are being preserved.
How Bus Companies Work To Deny Liability After An Accident
Bus companies are considered “common carriers” under the law and drivers are held to a very high standard. Bus drivers should undergo training and have periodic medical exams to ensure they are physically fit to drive. When a bus driver acts negligently and hits a pedestrian, their employer may face vicarious liability. In general, companies are responsible for the conduct of employees that are working within the course and scope of their employment. Unfortunately, there are a number of excuses that bus companies will use to try to avoid responsibility for a crash.
For example, insurance providers will often try to deny liability after an accident. If this is particularly difficult, they will typically argue that a plaintiff was partially responsible. In California, personal injury claims are evaluated under comparative negligence. A plaintiff will have their award reduced proportionately with the percentage they are deemed to be responsible for their own accident.
When a person is injured or killed a number of companies will try to claim that they didn’t cause the injury. They may try to argue that a victim has a pre-existing condition which was not caused by the current accident. Even when insurance providers accept liability in a fatal accident, they will work to downplay the value of a person’s life. Families of victims are entitled to compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. A family’s relationship with a victim is valuable and meaningful, but insurance companies are constantly at work trying to downplay this value.
Getting A Police Report After A Bus Accident
We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Michael Hatch. We encourage anyone that may have seen what happened to reach out to investigator Nick Cusimano at 408-615- 4764. There needs to be some accountability on the part of El Paseo Limousine for this tragedy. It is our sincere hope that steps are put in place to make sure that something similar does not take place in the future.
If you or someone that you love has been injured or killed in a bus accident you may have legal recourse. Our team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you in any way that we can. We focus exclusively on personal injury law and can take steps to make sure that your rights are being protected after a bus accident. Whether you need a police report for a specific accident or just have questions about your rights we are here for you. You can reach us anytime at (888) 888-9285.
- Mark Gomez. Santa Clara: Bicyclist hit, killed by private commuter bus. October 26, 2018
- Lacava Legal. Seven Excuses Insurance Companies Use. 2018
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