$1,350,000: Tragic Bus/Automobile Collision Following Six Month Marriage

CASE DESCRIPTION: Newly wed Daniel G. was riding his bike and lawfully entered a crosswalk on Pacific Coast Highway. Defendant Bill P. ran a red light stuck, the bike rider and started a sequence of accidents. As a result of the accidents Daniel G. was killed. His widow brought suit for wrongful death against Bill P. and the other vehicle that struck Daniel G.

RESULT: $1,350,000.00 total settlement

Daniel G. was proceeding within the crosswalk on his bicycle on a green light. Defendant, Bill P., was traveling in his Toyota Supra westbound on Pacific Coast Highway.  Bill P. “ran” the red light in his direction, and struck Daniel G. in the crosswalk. Bill P’s vehicle continued west and broadsided an Orange County Transit Authority bus which was also traveling northbound on Superior. Bill P’s vehicle struck the bus in the area of the front wheels and front passenger door. As a result of his impact with the Bill P. vehicle, Daniel G. was carried along with the Bill P’s vehicle and was thrown into the intersection in this general area.

After being struck by the Bill P. vehicle, the driver of the OCTA bus decided to clear the intersection without stopping the bus first to make sure his path was clear. It was alleged that the rear tires of the bus struck Daniel G. as it exited the intersection. Incredibly, after the OCTA bus passed by Daniel G’s position, Bill P. resumed his westbound travel and struck Daniel G. for a second time.  Daniel G’s body was caught under Bill P’s car and dragged for several yards before bystanders were able to stop Bill P’s progress.

Defendant Bill P. admitted liability for running the red light and starting the accident sequence. As for Defendant OCTA, the Plaintiff argued that the bus caused Decedent’s fatal injuries when its rear tires ran over Decedent. The bus driver had sufficient opportunity to stop the bus prior to Decedent’s position on the ground, and he should have done so.

The OCTA contended the Decedent received his fatal injuries when he was initially struck by the Bill P. vehicle which was traveling approximately 40 mph. Next the OCTA disputed whether the bus in fact ran over the Decedent. They also defended by stating the bus driver did not have sufficient time to stop the bus prior to the point where the rear bus wheels reached the Decedent’s position. Finally given his knowledge at the time, the bus driver made the correct decision in deciding to clear the intersection.

With regards to damages the Defendants argued that the Decedent and Plaintiff had only been married six months at the time of his death. Also the Decedent made less money than Plaintiff, and therefore economic loss was negligible.

TYPE OF CASE: Bicycle vs. Auto vs. Bus; Wrongful Death, Loss of consortium

INJURIES: Mr. Daniel G. was killed as a result of the accident.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: On 3/4/98 on Superior Avenue at its intersection with Pacific Coast Highway in the City of Newport Beach.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE: Decedent – 51 at time of the incident.

OCCUPATION: Decedent was a production control manager. Also he was a Senior Member of the Technical Staff and Senior Programmer/Analyst for Financial Systems.

Wylie A. Aitken & Darren O. Aitken
For Plaintiff – Anne G.

Peter J. Gates

For Defendant – Bill P.
Joseph W. Forbath

For Defendant – Orange County Transportation Authority & Gary S.


For Defendant – Bill P.

For Defendants – OCTA & Gary S.