Earlier this month, on open-air tour bus in San Francisco was involved in a serious accident. Indeed, the accident took place right outside of the old law office of new partner, Seth I. Rosenberg. The tour bus raced across two city blocks, struck a bicyclist and pedestrians, and hit several moving cars. The bus finally came to a rest after crashing into scaffolding in front of a building that will be a new Apple store in Union Square. The bus also hit several power lines that control the city’s electric buses.
As a result of the accident, 20 people were hurt. At the time of the accident, at least 30 passengers were onboard. Six of the injured individuals were very seriously injured, with four of the individuals in critical condition. Two pedestrians who were hit by the bus ended up trapped, and a passenger was trapped on the upper deck of the bus. Firefighters had to extricate the individuals from the bus.
The bus was operated by City Sightseeing, a private company that operates tour buses. According to the bus driver’s wife, the bus driver reported that the bus’s brakes failed, and that he had crashed into the scaffolding in an attempt to not hurt passengers.
City Sightseeing’s CEO issued a statement that said the company inspects its vehicles every 45 days or less, and that the bus that crashed was last inspected at the end of October. The CEO also said that the bus was registered with the DMV. However, the California Public Utilities Commission says that the company did not register the vehicle, and that is why the California Highway Patrol had never inspected the bus that crashed. The California Public Utilities Commission says that tour bus operators are required to notify them if a bus has been added to its operations, and that City Sightseeing failed to do so.
City Sightseeing has previously been investigated for insurance and ownership issues. It has been fined for failing to produce proper records during a safety audit. The company has been suspended and reinstated many times beginning in late 2007 for various infractions. CPUC also revoked the tour bus company’s permit in 2013. The company is currently operating under a new permit. It also currently maintains proper insurance, and received an inspection by the California Highway Patrol in September 2015.
When a tragic accident like this one occurs, a lot of blame and finger pointing normally occur in the aftermath of the accident. However, it’s important to let a thorough investigation take place. The California Highway Patrol and CPUC are currently investigating the cause of the crash.
If the crash occurred because the tour company failed to keep its buses properly maintained, or because of negligence on behalf of the driver, the tour company can be held liable. Companies such as City Sightseeing that transport passengers for hire are considered “common carriers” by law, and have a duty to keep their passengers safe. If they fail to do so, they can face liability for damages, including damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, loss of earning potential, and more.
If you or a loved one has been injured in the San Francisco area because of an accident involving a common carrier, such as a bus, taxi, subway, or airplane, call San Francisco personal injury attorney Micha Star Liberty or Seth I. Rosenberg at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. They work with clients throughout the Bay area, including Oakland, Hayward, Tracy, Fairfield, San Jose, Berkeley, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas. You and your family members may be entitled to compensation. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.