Thomas Duba, 61, Died In San Francisco Muni Bus Accident Along Van Ness Avenue North of O’Farrell Street
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (November 5, 2023) – A male pedestrian identified as Thomas Duba has tragically died in a San Francisco Muni bus accident along Van Ness Avenue.
San Francisco police officials are saying that the accident took place in the early hours of Thursday morning. Thomas Duba was hit by a Muni bus under uncertain conditions.
Paramedics and police officers were called to the scene in order to help the victim. Officers pulled Thomas Duba from under a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency bus with critical injuries.
Despite life-saving measures, he was pronounced dead at the scene. It remains unclear if the bus driver will receive any citations following the crash.
A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For San Francisco Muni Bus Accidents
Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured in bus accidents each year. According to the Journalist’s Resource, “about 63,000 buses [of all kinds] are involved in an accident each year; about 14,000 result in an injured person, and 325 result in a fatal injury. About 50 passengers (including the driver) are killed, on average, in a given year. Inter-city buses are 1.9 [times] more likely to become involved in an accident.” There are a number of reasons that buses can be particularly dangerous for pedestrians.
- Buses have large blind spots that can easily obscure the presence of pedestrians.
- Buses weigh substantially more than passenger vehicles and take much longer to stop.
- Buses have a high ground clearance which increases the odds pedestrians become trapped underneath the bus.
Bus companies such as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are considered common carriers and their drivers are held to a high standard in terms of safety. According to the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, “Common carriers must carry passengers [or property] safely. Common carriers must use the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person. They must do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under the circumstances to avoid harm to passengers[or property].” However, many bus drivers operate routes at night and when they might otherwise be fatigued.
All drivers have a legal obligation to exercise due care in order to avoid hitting pedestrians. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 21950, drivers must exercise due care to avoid hitting any pedestrian in the roadway. They must slow down and use their horn when necessary. Drivers should be particularly cautious at night and when visibility is reduced. If a driver fails to slow down to avoid hitting a pedestrian, this could form the basis of a negligence claim.
Depending on the facts of any case, a city could face civil liability if they owned a bus involved in an accident. For example, the city of San Francisco owns and operates the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Generally speaking, municipal agencies are liable for the wrongful acts of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties. This will include instances where a bus driver was transporting passengers. It is important that evidence is properly reviewed after any bus accident.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- Work logs from the bus driver involved should be sought.
- Surveillance footage of the crash should be examined.
The vast majority of pedestrian accidents are preventable and involve some amount of driver error. In particular, drivers often fail to check intersections for pedestrian traffic when they are making left turns. It is important that accident victims understand that they do have rights. The family of any person that died in a bus accident may be able to seek some measure of justice through California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60.
Investigating San Francisco Muni Bus Accidents
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Thomas Duba. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of the victim’s family. City officials need to do their part and take steps to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about a San Francisco Muni bus accident? Our team of pedestrian safety advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to helping accident victims understand their rights and holding bus agencies accountable for their negligence. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.