A San Francisco Muni cable car driver was rushed to the hospital earlier this month with critical injuries after he was hit by a car. The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. on the Powell Cable Car between Washington and Jackson streets in Nob Hill.
The conductor was assisting passengers with getting off the cable car when he was hit by a passing minivan. He had to crawl out from under the vehicle after being struck. The conductor broke his leg and ribs, and his liver was bleeding. He is expected to survive, but will be hospitalized for at least a week. It’s unknown whether the driver who hit him was cited for the accident. The conductor had an outstanding driving record.
According to a spokesman with a union that represents cable car operators, the operators are becoming increasingly worried about whether or not drivers are watching out for them. Cars are not supposed to pass stopped cable cars, but the law is often ignored. Many of the drivers are tourists who don’t know the laws about cable cars.
The union is asking for more warning signs along the cable car routes, as well as more police on the streets to enforce traffic laws. In recent years, there has been a big increase in the number of cars and bicycles sharing the roads with cable cars. The union has asked that safety officials examine the area around where the incident occurred to see if there are further steps to be taken. Street car operators are also being reminded to wear safety vests, look both ways, face traffic, and to keep vigilant about watching for oncoming traffic.
Although this accident was very serious and tragic, this employee is just one of millions who will be injured on the job this year. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are slightly over three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per year. Most of these injuries are not serious, but some caused permanent, lifelong injuries. The most common types of workplace injuries are sprains, strains, or tears, followed by slips and falls, followed by back injuries.
There were also 4,405 on the job deaths in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. Most of the deaths involved automobile accidents. Falls were also another major cause of workplace deaths, as well as homicide.
When an employee is injured at work, he or she is entitled to compensation. The source of the employee’s compensation depends on multiple factors, including whether your employer provides you with workers’ compensation benefits and whether a third party can be held liable, like the cable car incident above.
Many states require most employers to provide employees with workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides employees payment for medical expenses, rehab, and wage replacement. Employees only must prove that they were injured on the job in order to obtain workers’ compensation – they don’t have to prove their employer was negligent in order to recover.
Normally, in exchange for your employer providing you with workers’ compensation, you lose the right to sue your employer. Instead, your recovery is limited to workers’ compensation. If your employer does not provide you with workers’ compensation however, you can sue the employer for any on-the-job injuries if you prove that the employer was negligent in some way. This may be difficult, but if you can prove negligence occurred, your recovery will normally be higher than what you would receive through workers’ compensation. You may be entitled to money for pain and suffering, as well as compensation for family members.
Whether or not your employer provides you with workers’ compensation, you may also be entitled to make a claim against other, third parties responsible for your injuries. For example, if you were hurt in a manufacturing facility by a piece of machinery, you may be able to sue the machine’s manufacturer for damages, if you can prove that piece of machinery was defective.
If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident, you should talk to an attorney to ensure that you are receiving all of the benefits to which you are entitled. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that employees who are injured on the job should be able to pursue compensation that will help make them whole again. If you have been injured at work, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco personal injury attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She can help you obtain compensation for your injuries. Call to learn more today.