Bicyclist Crushed by Bus Accident – Proof of Liability & Damages – Video Transcript
Bicyclist Crushed by Bus Accident – Proof of Liability and Damages Video
Below is the transcript of the original YouTube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwv1popEtao
(The YouTube video will open in a new window.)
A fifty-five-year-old bicyclist eastbound in lane three on Story Road approaching U.S. 101 collided into the side of a VTA bus. There was no bicycle lane. The cyclist drove on the right side of lane three.
[Robert Paiz] I grew up mostly in San Jose. We had a great time. We went on vacation once a year. My parents took us to parks and we would go visit different family relatives. I believe in 1982, that’s when I contracted HIV aids. With medication I got better, and my T-cell rose above 500. So then they said that I no longer had AIDS, it was just HIV. After I beat my cancer, I was able to live my life, I was able to finish cosmetology school, start a job at Faux Salon where I worked and thrived there for many years. When I first started working at Faux Salon I first started working for Natalie. [Natalie Nepomuceno] My name is Natalie Nepomuceno. I’ve known Robert for at least 15 years. Robert has really good work ethics, clients really enjoy him. So he’s just this happy-go-lucky guy, says hi to everyone, he’s fast, if you need something, he’s there. So you pretty much actually don’t have to ask, like, he kind of just sees it from across the room, gets over there and does what needs to be done, and then the day just goes smooth, like there’s no buckle, you know. [Robert Paiz] Faux Salon was my life. I would wake up and I would look forward to going to work, and I would enjoy being there, I’d look forward to seeing everyone, being there and working with people and talking to the customers. I mean, that was what I created for myself, that was a safe spot for me. [Stephanie Navarro] I met Robert here at the salon. His work ethic was amazing. All the clients loved him. He was always picking up where I left off, and you know, it was just super-fast-paced and he was able to keep it up with it, and, um, do things without even being needed to ask for them. So there’s a flower guy that comes on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and you know we buy flowers for the salon, and Robert would always buy flowers for the salon and for his mom, um, you know, multiple… You know, they’d be like ten dollars a bouquet, so he would buy like five of them at a time, and just give them around, sometimes even give them to clients, the older clients that he really liked. [Robert Paiz] And it’s cliche but it was like a big family, tell you the truth. If it wasn’t for the accident, I would still be there today. It wasn’t work, it was just fun… I was headed home. I remember, I got flowers for my mother. I used to ride that path all the time. I was already in motion when the bus took off from the red light and so she caught up to me, and that was when the crash happened. [Passenger] Right before she came to the overpass I saw the biker riding his bike and then the bus was really close, and like, I was thinking about how close, that kind of close to be there, and then after that I heard a “thud”. I know he had a lot of blood on his legs, the flowers were on the street. [Robert Paiz] The next thing that I know I was underneath the bus. I remember just looking down and just seeing my arm gone pretty much, just two bones. [Attorney] You see him and he’s five feet away, right? [Catherine Briggs, bus driver] Yes. [Attorney] Okay. As the bus began to pass him, did you check the right side mirror? [Catherine Briggs] When I did check the right side mirror, he already made contact with the bus. [Police Officer Morgan] Because he was not at fault, and then, no matter how they spin it… If she said he was in front of her, in the roadway and she gave, moved over to give him more space – and then hits him with it? He’s got the right of way in the lane – you can’t pass another vehicle in one lane. She says she’s heard something – like, heard some type thing. She is going to be at fault. She’s at fault. I he’s in this lane, e’s got a right of way. If he’s a bike in the roadway, he’s got the right of way. Yeah. Say she was going, giving him more room to pass him – you can’t pass, you can’t pass a vehicle in one lane, and you can’t pass a bike either. Yeah. And there is no bike lane, so he’s got right of way on the roadway. ‘s like in front of her in the roadways. [Robert Paiz] The bus went by. It was very close to me. And the back end hit my front tire. And I guess I slammed into the bus, fell back that way, and I fell down on the street. [Attorney] Okay, what did you understand the “Three Feet for Safety Act” to require you to do? [Catherine Briggs] To when passing a bicyclist, give them three and a half, or more, feet of clearance when passing them. [Attorney] Okay, and you have to leave three and a half feet of clearance where, exactly? [Catherine Briggs] From bike to bus. [Attorney] At any point of the bicycle and at any point of the bus, correct? [Catherine Briggs] Yes, that’s my understanding. [Attorney] Did you understand that Mr. Paiz had the right to be in lane number three? [Catherine Briggs] Yes. [Robert Paiz] My arm looked like mutilated, the skin was torn off. All I saw was, all I saw was two bones with just a bunch of gelatinous stuff around my wrist, and it was just like jelly at the end of my wrist here. And all I saw was my two bones that you have right here. [Hilda Paiz, mother] I remember walking into that room and seeing him. They had him covered up to his neck and his arm out of the blanket. He had, uh, no color to his face, he had, uh, tubes all over, monitors all over, um, they had his arm up on a couple of pillows, and it was real cold. They told me that they had to remove some of his arm because he had gone during the night to a second emergency surgery because the arm was not getting enough blood down to his fingers. And they were afraid that he might get gangrene below the elbow, so they started doing surgery, and they started doing skin grafts, so they were taking from his groin area, taking, um, skin to do the skin grafts. [Robert Paiz] My life is very sedentary, I don’t engage in anything, I don’t I engage with people too much. I pretty much stay in my room, just walk my dog. I am isolating myself because I don’t like the way people stare at me when I’m out in public. Their reaction to my arm, I mean, after a while that affects you. [Hilda Paiz] Sometimes he gets really angry that he can’t do something, and I’ll hear him throw a shoe or something, or whatever. And then I’ll go in there and I’ll talk to him, and a lot of times he says he needs to move out. I go, well, you move out and who’s going to help you? You can’t move out. [Stephanie Navarro] His morale has changed. You can see that he’s not happy and that he’s depressed. You can just see it in his face, in his eyes, and the way that he actually carries himself now. He’s just very different. [Natalie Nepomuceno] What I’ve noticed about him is he’s sad, you know, like, I think he always just, he’ll just say oh I’m accepting it, or you know, you know like, it’s just tough. [Robert Paiz] The pain that I feel in my stump – sometime it is numbing, sometimes it’s cold, it’s throbbing, like a pulsating type of thing, some certain constant pain is there all the time. I wake up in the middle of the night because of pain, just because of the way I’m lying down or the way I’m on my arm. I experience phantom pain where I think that my arm is there and it’s not, and it’s just, um, like a throbbing thumping type of pain, where, uh, on my phantom arm, and it never goes away. [Hilda Paiz] He’s in pain all the time, I can see the pain. It’s hard to live with phantom pain, and you’ve got headaches from it, and you’re always nervous because you feel the anxiety of the ache in your body, and it’s difficult as a mother. This is the hardest part when you see your child hurt, no matter what age he is, or she. [Robert Paiz] It’s hard to function with just one hand, putting on a shirt, buttoning something, you know, pulling up your zipper, just putting on your pants in general. I wear, you know, I don’t even wear tennis shoes that tie anymore because I can’t even tie my shoes anymore. So it’s just you know, everything that I have, I just pull all the shoelaces off and just slip on. I usually just put the toothbrush in my mouth and then I put the toothpaste on it. [Hilda Paiz] I’ll scramble him an egg or potatoes or something, help him with his laundry. I take his dirty bedding off and help him throw them in the washing machine, so he can do things like that. [Natalie Nepomuceno] I wouldn’t hire him as an assistant because he can’t shampoo someone’s hair, you need two hands to put on somebody’s drape, put on a towel, turn on the knob, and make sure that it’s warm enough or cold enough, or whatever. I can’t take Robert to do any more work at the salon. Even at the front desk Robert wouldn’t be able to answer the phones, he would be able to answer a phone, but at the same time you’re taking someone’s info. He would need to use a computer at the same time to put in someone’s appointment or write down the message. [Hilda Paiz] I help Robert tie shoes, uh, dress shoes especially, because he likes them crossed the right way. You can get angry with yourself and then you lash it out on others. I’d be just helping him, is all you can do, and sometimes if he didn’t sleep well because of the phantom pain, he wakes up grouchy. [Robert Paiz] My mother helps me clean my room, make my bed, get dressed, button my shirts, put on my shoes. She also cooks and cleans for me, she has basically become my other arm. Things that I cannot do, she’s there to do for me. If my mother was not there to help me every single day, I would be at a loss for words. [Hilda Paiz] I worry about my son, that I feel that someone will not be able to take care of him once I’m gone. He needs somebody to help. [Robert Paiz] I’ve survived cancer I’ve survived HIV AIDS, I’ve created a life that I enjoyed. I liked where I was working. And that was taken away from me. [Hilda Paiz] I still want him to be happy and well, and hopefully one day he will be.