A recent increase in pedestrian accidents in Honolulu has left several people injured and claimed at least two lives. Now, authorities are investigating whether the negligence of two city bus drivers resulted in the deaths of two pedestrians.
In one case, a 55-year-old pedestrian was crossing the street in a marked Kalihi crosswalk when he was hit by a bus. The driver of that bus, one of the two under investigation, had been driving for Oahu Transit Services for seven years, according to a Hawaii News Now report.
In the second case, a 71-year-old man in Waikiki was run over by the back tires of a bus after the driver overshot the bus stop on Ala Moana Boulevard. Witnesses say that the pedestrian was trying to catch the bus, but that the driver pulled away from the stop. Although witnesses have said it looked as if the driver simply did not see the pedestrian, police investigators say other clues lead them to believe that negligence was involved.
Both cases have been reclassified as cases of negligent homicide as the police continue their investigations.
Many parts of our Honolulu are crowded and congested with cars and pedestrians. City bus drivers must remember that they are driving 15-ton vehicles that will easily kill or maim a pedestrian. While many bus drivers are dedicated public servants, we all too often see City bus drivers who ignore the rules of the road and seem to be in a rush. The results are often tragic, as reflected in these cases. In our crowded Honolulu, the City must have zero tolerance for bus drivers who do not strictly follow the rules.
These cases involving the City bus drivers come on the heels of several cases involving death and injuries caused by city refuse truck drivers. According to an article by the Honolulu Advertiser, the city’s internal review shows that nearly 70% of refuse truck accidents are caused by the fault of the refuse truck driver. If this is correct, then something needs to change before more of us are killed or injured.
When a pedestrian is killed by a vehicle, a criminal investigation is standard procedure. If police find enough evidence to support it, a criminal charge may be filed by the prosecutor’s office. The criminal courts will then seek justice for the person wrongfully killed. In most instances, there is little or no focus on compensating the family of the person killed.
The Civil Justice System provides a means for the family and estate of the person wrongfully killed to seek fair compensation by bringing a wrongful death lawsuit or claim. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family and the estate can seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of the income that the deceased person would have earned in the future, and the enjoyment of life that the deceased person would have experienced if not for their wrongful death. Loved ones can seek compensation for their grief and the care, comfort, support and guidance that the deceased person would have provided to them in the future.
When a pedestrian accident involves a city bus or another vehicle driven by a public employee, the case must also address questions of governmental liability. While Hawaii law certainly allows claims to be brought against the city, county, or state, the time limit in which these can be filed sometimes is different than claims filed against individuals or private companies.
Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner has handled numerous cases arising from bus accidents caused by the City’s bus drivers, Handi-Van drivers and City refuse truck drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured by a City Bus, you should seek the counsel of a law firm experienced in handling these kinds of cases. If you ask Leavitt, Yamane and Soldner to handle your case, you will gain a valuable ally who will work tirelessly to ensure that you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced Honolulu personal injury attorneys at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner can help. Contact us today to learn more.