MJQ Law represents the victims of serious accidents involving San Francisco Bay Area public transportation. Our skilled San Francisco public transportation lawyers take action on behalf of anyone who has been hurt while using MUNI, BART, or AC Transit transportation. We also protect victims who have been in their own cars or walking and suffered a frightening collision with a bus or train, or with a CalTrans or city vehicle.
We also help families who have lost a loved one in a tragic public transportation accident seek wrongful death support to protect their futures.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation transportation accident case consultation. This is a no-risk way to find out what your case may be worth. It’s vital information that you’ll need as insurance companies for the City of San Francisco and others work to downplay your injuries and rob you of the support you require to recover.
Exactly what we do for our clients in a short, animated video:
San Francisco Public Transportation Dangers
The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan have represented many clients in many different types of accidents involving the local transportation system.
The Bay Area’s vast network of trains, buses, street cars, cable cars, and the subway makes getting around pretty easy. But all those moving vehicles and fast-moving train cars can present hazards for passengers and other drivers. City transportation workers can get careless and spark a major accident.
These are just a few of the types of cases MJQ Law has helped injured clients with:
- Pedestrian or cyclist struck by a bus, light rail, trolley, or train.
- Passenger aboard MUNI, BART, AC Transit, SamTrans, Caltrain, or any other type of public transportation when an accident occurs. Buses and trains are sometimes struck by careless motorists. Those drivers will need to be included in accident claims on behalf of the victims.
- Drivers’ and operators’ negligence causes you harm while you were either entering or exiting the public transportation vehicle. Even automated transportation systems make mistakes that harm riders.
- Injured at a terminal or station of MUNI, BART, AC Transit, SamTrans, Caltrain, or any other type of public transportation due to unsafe conditions.
- We occasionally see cases where a third party harms a passenger.
What Should I Do After an Accident Involving San Francisco Public Transportation?
An accident on a Bay Area bus, street car, or train can create a massive accident scene. This scene will eventually be cleaned up and cleared, and once the process is done, valuable evidence will have disappeared forever.
You should try to gather proof of what happened at the site of your public transportation accident, but only if you are left strong enough to do so. Once the scene is secure, try to collect these details to give your MUNI or BART injury claim the best chance of earning the compensation you’ll need to recover:
- Call 911 – Grab your cell phone and call for an ambulance if you are injured. Get checked out by EMTs no matter how minor you think your injuries are. Go to the hospital if necessary. If you’re in a train collision, 911 operators should also be able to send repair crews. Call for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) after a traffic accident. Officers will prepare an accident report that will serve as strong evidence as you try to secure injury compensation from the city or the state of California.
- Take Photos – Get out your cell phone and take photos of the scene. Show the damage to vehicles and the bus or train. If a hazard caused you to get injured, get a photo of it. Show the damage to cars. Document your visible injuries and torn clothing.
- Talk to Witnesses – Get contact information from all witnesses so your Bay Area MUNI Accident Lawyer can contact them for valuable testimony later. Witnesses may have seen a driver behaving carelessly or a city employee being reckless.
- Check for Surveillance Cameras – Scan area homes and businesses to see if security cameras or doorbell cameras may have recorded the crash. Jot down the addresses for your attorney. A train or bus station may also have cameras rolling.
- Schedule a Visit to Your Doctor – The shock and adrenaline of what’s happened may mask the pain of a serious internal injury. You should visit your doctor in the days following a crash. An X-ray may reveal a hairline fracture or another serious injury. Follow the doctor’s advice about going to specialists and completing physical therapy.
For more help after an accident, check out our page on what not to do when preparing for your car accident injury claim.
What Will Earn Compensation After a Bay Area Public Transportation Accident?
When anyone is hurt in an accident involving public transportation provided by the City and County of San Francisco, they should start thinking about filing an injury claim as soon as possible.
Victims deserve the best care available so they have the best chance at a full recovery. They also deserve to heal without worrying about how they’ll pay their medical bills and support their families.
To secure full compensation for all of your medical costs, you’ll have to make sure every damage you’ve suffered is clearly listed in an injury claim. The insurance company won’t provide support for anything not on the list and those costs instantly becomes your responsibility.
These are just a few things that will factor into the amount you’ll see on a public transportation accident settlement check:
- Past “Paid” Medical Bills
- Cost of Future Medical Treatment
- Lifelong medical costs for victims who are left with permanent physical disabilities in a Muni bus or train accident.
- The physical pain you experience.
- The emotional trauma you suffer.
- Past Lost Wages.
- Future Lost Wages.
- Loss of Earning Capacity.
- Cost to Repair/Replace Personal Property.
- Wrongful Death Benefits. Families are encouraged to file a wrongful death claim against the city if they lose a loved one in a Muni bus collision or a train derailment. This claim seeks money for leftover medical bills.
Unfortunately, your healthcare provider can seek to take some of your accident compensation after it’s awarded. They can take more than what’s fair in some cases. Check out our informational page on Dealing with Health Insurance Subrogation Claims to find out how to avoid losing your injury support.
Successful Cases Involving Bay Area Public Transit Accidents?
Yes. We handle a lot of injury accidents involving public transit. Most commonly we handle BART, MUNI, AC Transit and CalTrain accidents, but we have handled just about every form of public, mass transit in the Bay Area. We have seen it all, but here are three public transit cases we recently resolved for our clients.
$300,000 Settlement Our client, J.G., a bicyclist, was injured at a four-way stop sign in the Sunset District when a utility truck being driven by a MUNI supervisor, en route to alleviate a rail blockage on the N-Judah line, crashed into him. We alleged that the MUNI employee ran the stop sign, while the City Attorney (City and County of San Francisco (CCSF)) alleged that J. G. ran the stop sign. During the lawsuit, we were able to obtain GPS data that was being transmitted from the truck that tended to show, although not conclusive, that the MUNI employee did in fact run the stop sign.
$55,000 Settlement Our client, J.S., was walking home in Pacific Heights when he stumbled and fell after stepping into a poorly repaired portion of concrete near a utility box . The drop from the sidewalk into the portion of the concrete that was in disrepair was approximately 2 inches. The fall caused J.S. to fall onto his outstretched arm, which caused a small fracture in his elbow. He did not require surgery, but he did miss about 3 months of work as a physical therapist. Through the Sunshine Act, we were able to obtain correspondence between the property owner and the City, which showed that CCSF was on notice of the dangerous condition. The case settled without the need to file a complaint.
$660,000 Settlement Our clients, N.B. and T.C., were the daughters of an elderly man that was killed while exiting a MUNI bus in San Francisco. The man was wearing a long rain jacket that was caught in the door after the driver did not allow the man enough time to exit the bus. After being dragged a short distance, the man was run over by the bus and ultimately died from his injuries several weeks later.
What Do I Need to Know When Suing the City of San Francisco?
Bringing a claim against a governmental (public) agency is much more difficult than with non-governmental agencies. California state law protects governmental agencies from injury and death claims that they are not made aware of within 6 months of the accident.
Specifically, CA Government Code Section 911.2 requires a person injured due to the negligence of a governmental agency (or their agents) to file a written governmental claim within 6 months of the injury (this is usually deemed to be the date of the accident, but not always).
The governmental agency then has 45 days to accept or reject responsibility for the claim. If the governmental agency does not accept or reject the claim in 45 days, the claim is deemed to be rejected on the 45th day. Once the claim is rejected, the claimant then has 6 additional months from the date of rejection to file a proper complaint against the governmental entity in a court of law. Note: the statute of limitations for injury claims against non-public entities is 2 years from the date of injury.
A governmental entity may not be sued for personal injuries under the same theories that a non-governmental agency may be sued. Rather, a public agency may be sued for injuries only under the following grounds:
- Negligence of a public agency employee acting within the course and scope of their employment with the public agency (CA Government Code Section 815.2) and
- Dangerous condition of public property (CA Government Code Sections 835 & 840-840.6).
Some additional actions can be brought against police officers, firefighters, medical providers, etc. (CA Government Code Sections 840-856.6).
These restrictions may be enough to make your head swim. You shouldn’t worry about any of this while you are trying to recover from a major injury. Allow the skilled lawyers at the Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan to fight these battles for you and to maximize the compensation you receive from the City of San Francisco or another government agency.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Was Injured in a Public Transit Accident?
We’re sorry to learn that you were injured in a public transit accident, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hire a San Francisco MUNI accident lawyer. For example, if you suffered only minor injuries (scrapes and/or soft tissue injuries) AND it is clear that the public transit driver was at fault, you may be able to handle your claim with the governmental entity yourself.
That said, if you suffered a serious injury you will need a San Francisco public transportation accident lawyer to help you recover what you are entitled to from the city, county, or state. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss whether you need a lawyer. If you don’t, we will happily give you some free information on how to handle your claim without a lawyer.
We never take on cases that we can’t add value to. In other words, if you can’t likely net more money by hiring us, we will tell you that. That said, if you suffered serious injuries or the fault isn’t crystal clear, you need to hire an experienced MUNI accident lawyer. If you go without representation, you could forfeit thousands of dollars in settlement money.
What Is Common Carrier Liability?
Businesses and governmental agencies that advertise and/or hold themselves out to the public as being available to provide transportation for a fee are known as common carriers. In other words, if you are in the business of providing transportation for profit, you are a common carrier. Common carriers have a higher standard of care than your standard driver. Common carriers must exercise the highest degree of care and vigilance in order to ensure that their passengers are safe.
Common carriers are required to provide safe vehicles for travel, train and qualify their operators, and implement proper safety protocols for their transportation offerings. The standard for common carriers is a difficult one to reach and oftentimes, governmental agencies fail to meet their obligations under common carrier liability laws. This may be due to oversight, negligence, or inadequate budgets.
Nonetheless, if you are injured by public transportation, you have a claim against them for your injuries if they failed to meet their obligations in any manner. Our San Francisco MUNI Accident Lawyers are experts in evaluating the conduct of common carriers, including governmental agencies, and have a long track record of recovering great financial settlements for our clients that are injured at the hands of common carriers.
Frequently Asked Questions After San Francisco MUNI Accidents
Should I speak with lawyers and insurance representatives for the City of San Francisco?
Stick to basic information. They may ask if you’ll give a recorded statement about your public transportation accident. Decline. These statements can be twisted later to hurt your claim to get injury support.
What if I can’t afford to pay a San Francisco BART Accident Lawyer?
Don’t worry. You won’t need to bring any money if you hire MJQ Law to represent your family. We don’t get paid unless we win your case. Then, our fee comes out of the compensation we secure for you.
Will I have to go to court to earn compensation after a Bay Area public transportation accident?
Usually not. Most accident claims are settled out of court because the City of San Francisco would like to avoid the costs of a trial. However, if the city won’t provide what’s fair, your attorney will be prepared to file a lawsuit.
Contact a San Francisco Public Transportation Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a careless accident caused by a MUNI or BART employee or by another driver, don’t trust your recovery to an insurance company. Allow The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan to deal with the most frustrating parts of injury claims and insurance hassles so you can focus on getting better.
You could be dealing with government lawyers when seeking to secure what’s fair for your injuries. Our BART accident attorneys and MUNI accident attorneys know how to quickly identify who should be paying you for your suffering. We won’t be intimidated by lawyers for the City of San Francisco or any Bay Area governmental department.
Contact our offices for a free case consultation that comes with no obligation to you or your family. Let us work to get the most out of your San Francisco MUNI accident settlement. You should never have to pay for medical bills out of your own pocket due to a reckless city employee’s mistake.