Seven Injured in San Francisco Cable Car Accident

by Bisnar Chase on February 7, 2013

Powell-Hyde cable car Seven people were hospitalized with injuries after a cable car accident in San Francisco the morning of Feb. 6, 2013.  According to a Bay City News report, the incident occurred at Powell and Washington streets when an inbound Powell-Hyde cable car suddenly jolted to a stop. Five passengers and two car operators were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators later found a bolt lying on the tracks. They are still trying to determine where the bolt came from and it is not clear if it was part of the cable car track. The investigation is still ongoing.

Higher Rate of Collisions

More than 22,000 people ride cable cars in the city of San Francisco. There’s no denying that it is a fun way to see the city. But, a 2006 news report by ABC7 states that cable car accident rates are higher than other modes of transportation. The article refers to numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation that rate the safety for different forms of public transportation according to miles traveled and cable cars are by far the worst. According to the report, between 2002 and 2006 the collision injury rate for cable cars has been more than double of Muni buses in San Francisco and three, four or even five times the rate of light rail and electric trolley buses in the city.

Liability Issues

Mass carriers, whether they are public or private, owe their passengers the highest “duty of care.” What this means is, whether it’s a cable car, bus or train, operators are responsible for the safety of their passengers. I trust officials in this case are looking into whether the bolt caused the cable car to come to a jolting stop. Who dropped the bolt on the tracks? Or had it come loose from the tracks?

Injured passengers in such cases can seek compensation from the cable car operator, in this case, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Injured victims may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, physical therapy, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in California who has experience handling cases similar to theirs.

And for business law, see this list of Five Fantastic Small Business Lawyers in San Francisco albeit different from personal injury legal advice.

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