As recently reported by San Francisco Weekly, MUNI has been ordered to pay a total of $32 million to date for damages relating to its involvement in a series of recent collisions. The most notorious of those accidents occurred in July 2009 when a MUNI light-rail operator blacked out, causing a collision with a parked train that injured 47. Prior to the July crash, six other MUNI accidents in 2009 alone had caused a total 45 injuries and one death.
Under California law, MUNI is considered a common carrier and is therefore required to uphold a strict duty of care to its passengers. MUNI drivers who fail to comply with traffic laws put their passengers at risk, and are therefore in violation of MUNI's legal obligation to keep vehicles safe.
Passengers who are hurt as a result of MUNI driver negligence have a legal right to seek financial compensation for the injuries they suffer. Pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles may also be entitled to compensation if they suffer injuries as a result of MUNI negligence.
Because the MUNI is run by a governmental entity, special procedural requirements apply to anyone seeking to file a lawsuit against the transportation system.
Under California law, legal claims against government entities are subject to a shorter statute of limitations than claims against private entities. In addition, potential litigants against government entities are required to file a claim directly with the relevant entity before becoming eligible to pursue a claim in court.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a MUNI accident, it is important to act fast in order to protect your right to seek compensation. An experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney can answer your questions and help you navigate the complicated process of seeking legal compensation for your injuries.