San Francisco's MUNI Railway operates 128 LRV's (light rail vehicles) over almost 100 miles of track in the City of San Francisco. MUNI's LRV's carry more than 150,000 passengers each weekday and as many as 60,000 passengers on weekends. MUNI LRV cars are self-propelled, and weigh over 70,000 pounds each. The newest vehicles in the LRV fleet have been built by the Italian firm of Breda Costruzioni. The cost of each car is approximately $2,000,000.
The Dangers Of Light Rail Vehicles
LRV cars are dangerous if they are not safely operated. They incorporate a braking defect which MUNI does not publicize. Our attorneys have taken testimony from Municipal Railway managers and engineers who have testified that as designed, MUNI LRV's have a "brake lag" which makes them particularly dangerous on city streets.
The brake lag results in a delay between application of the brakes and effective braking. This means that MUNI operators must be especially vigilant, and in some circumstances, anticipate accidents hundreds of feet before they ever happen. Most MUNI operators are unaware of this "brake lag," and are often caught short in trying to stop when danger manifests itself on the road.
Experienced Light Rail Accident Representation
Our San Francisco light rail accident attorneys have successfully represented on-board passengers as well as passengers waiting to board and pedestrians in claims against MUNI for injuries caused by negligent LRV operation.
- On more than four occasions, national safety investigators have met with MUNI officials to discuss safety problems associated with LRV accidents. In 1997, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that MUNI had failed to address systemic safety issues, shown inadequate attention to the safe operation of the MUNI LRV system, and suggested a comprehensive safety review of MUNI's management, maintenance and operating procedures.
- The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal agency with the responsibility to promote transportation safety by conducting independent accident investigations.
- In spite of these recommendations, MUNI's LRV fleet has continued to cause injury and wreak havoc both with passengers and pedestrians.
Examples Of Our Success
Examples of our success in prosecuting cases against negligent LRV operators include the following:
- We obtained a cash settlement in the amount of $2,000,000 on behalf of a 16-year-old high school student who was struck by an LRV near Stonestown, on 19th Avenue. The LRV operator claimed that he had a "green light" when the pedestrian walk signal gave the child the right of way. She suffered an amputation of her left lower leg below the knee. Our MUNI Railway injury specialists were able to show that the timing sequence of the various signal lights made it possible for both parties to have the green light at the same time.
- In another case involving LRV injury, our MUNI Railway injury attorneys obtained a $3,000,000 settlement from the City and County of San Francisco on behalf of a 21-year-old student at San Francisco State University who was struck at the intersection of Plymouth and Ocean Avenue by an LRV. The operator claimed that he purposely passed her up at a designated boarding location because he feared that a person on the boarding platform who had given him problems in the past, would cause a disturbance on his LRV. Our Municipal Railway injury specialists showed that failing to stop at a designated passenger pickup location was a direct violation of MUNI's safety rules. Deposition testimony from the operator and his supervisors confirmed that the operator violated system wide regulations for safety, and was suspended from his job because of such conduct. The recovery included both a cash payment and periodic future payments to help with rehabilitation and future medical expenses.
- In a third case involving MUNI LRV's, our trial team brought MUNI to trial in a case where an LRV struck a boarding LRV passenger while the passenger was still on the boarding island at 9th and Irving. Our MUNI injury lawyers obtained a $637,000 jury verdict on behalf of the injured passenger from a San Francisco jury.
Contact Us Now To Discuss Your Rights And Options
If you were injured in a light rail (LRV) accident, you have a right to seek financial compensation. Our San Francisco attorneys can help. Contact us today for a free consultation: 415-906-3764.