On November 20, 2008 David Wheeler was crossing the Lower Great Highway near Ocean Beach in San Francisco on his bicycle when he was hit by a Muni bus. The bus driver, Roy Timmons, failed to stop before turning left onto the highway from Noriega Avenue, according to documents filed by his attorney in San Francisco Superior Court. The documents indicate that the bus driver also:
- Sped up during the maneuver
- Failed to use his blinker
- Cut his turn short, crossing into the southbound lane of the Great Highway
At that point he struck Wheeler, who was crossing the street from a nearby bike path.
The extent of Wheeler's injuries from the 2008 accident are unknown, but the June 2011 settlement indicated that he is under conservatorship which likely means that he is incapable of making legal or medical decisions for himself. That also suggests that Wheeler may have suffered traumatic brain injury from the 2008 accident.
According to The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, the $5.36 million settlement is the second highest paid out by the Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, since 1995. In 2008, the agency approved a $21 million settlement to the family of a three-year-old girl who was struck and killed by an MTA employee driving a maintenance truck. The following year the agency took out a catastrophic insurance policy to cover accident awards ranging from $5 to $25 million dollars, however both accidents occurred before the policy was enacted, and are therefore not covered.
When a bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle, the potential for serious injury or even death is significant. Although cycling accounts for less than 1% of all trips in this country, bicycle deaths make up 2% of total traffic deaths. Factors such as driver inattention and poorly maintained roads can be deadly to even the most experienced bicyclist.
At O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley we represent people who have suffered serious injuries as a result of others negligence on California’s roads and highways. The injuries that can result from an accident involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle are often catastrophic; including, brain and spinal cord injuries; fractures; abrasions; and internal and soft tissue injuries.
The attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley work with medical professionals, vocational rehabilitation experts, and financial planners to determine all of the effects of serious injuries. We have the skill and experience to ensure that individuals and their families receive the financial support necessary to help them move forward with their lives.
Because bicycle accident cases can be very complex, you need an experienced and aggressive bicycle accident lawyer to successfully handle them. The attorneys at O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley have the necessary experience. With over 45 years of trial experience we are not afraid to take anyone to trial that has wrongfully injured one of our clients.
The attorneys at O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley are well known and respected throughout the legal community and among our clients. From our offices in Contra Costa County, San Francsico and Sacramento, we serve clients throughout Northern California. Our experience and expertise are available to you.
(Source: SF Examiner)