Severely Injured Passenger Blames Bus Driver and Kaiser
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – When the bus he was riding suddenly stopped, a Kaiser patient was thrown out of his unstable Kaiser-provided wheelchair and injured, according to an action filed in Alameda County Superior Court.
The suit claims Kaiser selected and provided an unstable motorized wheelchair for the plaintiff, selected the maintenance provider for the chair, and did not issue a modification order to ensure the chair was stable enough for ordinary use, such as a bus ride.
Michael G. Tecle sued Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, C. Hollin, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Permobil Inc., and National Seating & Mobility Inc. for negligence, vicarious liability, common carrier liability and product liability.
When Tecle boarded the bus, driver Hollin did not strap him in, Tecle said, though it is common practice to do so. Tecle is paralyzed from the waist down and could not strap himself in. When Hollin abruptly braked, Tecle was thrown out of his chair, resulting in fractures to both legs and other injuries, according to the action.
However, Tecle claims Kaiser had a duty to provide him with a safe medical device, and the wheelchair manufactured by Permobil was defectively designed with a center of gravity incorrectly placed relative to the wheelbase of the chair. Kaiser selected National Seating as the maintenance provider for the chair, but did not issue a service order to National to ensure the wheelbase of the chair was adjusted so it was stable enough for a bus ride, and National did not make a reasonable effort to correct the stability problem on its own, according to the suit.
Tecle seeks a judgment for at least $1 million for general and special damages, lost wages and loss of future earnings and earning capacity, costs of suit, and interest.
Tecle is represented by H. Steven Burnside, Norbert Stahl and Laura M. Taute in Palo Alto, California.