Without question, San Francisco’s iconic cable cars are one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. For decades, the images of cable cars traversing the steep hills of “The City by the Bay” have been ingrained into the minds of most Americans. While riding cable cars is at the top of most visitors’ “to do” list while in San Francisco, most people do not realize that cable cars are one of the most dangerous forms of mass transit, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
Following a serious accident when several people were injured after a cable car came to an abrupt stop after hitting a bolt in the track, the Associated Press conducted a public records request to obtain a list of cable car-related settlements. Those numbers showed that the city of San Francisco paid out nearly $8 million to settle about four dozen legal claims involving cable car accidents in a 3-year period. From 2003 to 2013, DOT found that there were 126 accidents involving cable cars that injured 151 passengers.
Cable Car Injuries
Throughout the long fabled history of the San Francisco cable car system, passengers have sustained injuries ranging from contusions to much more serious, permanent injuries. Several years ago, a man had to have his foot amputated when he caught his foot between the cable car he was standing on and a parked vehicle.
Cable car injuries are similar to injuries sustained in vehicular accidents. And, because there is a lack of restraints on cable cars as well as proper safety gear, very serious injuries can occur from the impact of a collision which can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Situations unique to cable cars that can lead to serious injuries include:
- Driver error
- Equipment failure or malfunction
- The open-air feature of a cable car makes it prone to inclement weather
- Riders standing can hang limbs outside the cable cars, risking serious injuries
- Cable cars operate on roads that have heavy vehicle and foot traffic
When you’ve been injured in a cable car accident, you should not have to worry about legal matters as you are recovering. Because cable car accidents are unique to San Francisco, you should work with an attorney who is familiar with the city and the laws and regulations governing mass transit. The legal team at Hogan Injury has the experience and resources needed to successfully win cable car accident claims. We will handle all the legal aspects of your case while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries.