While Muni has an insurance policy that covers accident and injury claims between $5 and $25 million dollars, the many incidents falling just below that (a cable car’s derailment, for one) come out of the SF MTA’s own coffers. After a recent MTA board meeting, the transit agency’s going to be writing nearly $2.5 million in checks to those injured by their vehicles.
According to ABC7, these payouts will settle 11 suits brought against the city by victims of, the plan plaintiffs say, the SF MTA.
Details of the accidents ranged from simple negligence such as a light rail driver reportedly falling asleep at the wheel and injuring 48 people in the process, to circumstantial — for example, a $20,000 award after a Muni sign hit a man’s head during a strong wind. Still others are far creepier, for example, one reward of $95,000 went to a woman who said she was stalked by a SF MTA parking control officer.
Awards included $2,026,848 to a Texas woman who suffered a broken femur and other injuries in that cable car derailment, as well as $50,000 for two other passengers from Texas and $75,000 for a man from Fremont also involved in that crash. $52,000 was awarded to a woman whose foot was crushed while using by Muni’s wheelchair lift and $5,214 awarded to a passenger who slammed into a bus’s windshield during an abrupt stop.
Looming on the horizon is another big payout for the MTA: a collision between a cable car and a double-parked car in December 2009 caused passenger John Gainor’s left foot to be “crushed in the accident and later…to be amputated.” The city offered Gainor $2.75 million for his troubles, but he refused to settle and will take the matter to trial in June, 2011.