San Francisco is well known for its historic cable cars that travel the city’s streets. Residents and tourists often enjoy cable cars as an alternate mode of transportation. Cable cars and their passengers are at risk for accidents and injuries, however, as evidenced by a recent accident that left seven people injured.

The accident occurred when a cable car hit an object lodged in the line on Nob Hill. This caused the cable car to slam to a stop, injuring several people. Five total people were taken to a local hospital. One of the victims in the cable car accident was a man in his 80s who suffered serious, life-threatening injuries. The conductor suffered from a concussion, among other injuries. The cable car’s grip operator was also hurt. He fell on the grip and sustained rib and hand injuries. Two other people were injured, but declined medical treatment.

According to a spokesman for the Municipal Transportation Agency, the cable car had 40 people aboard at the time of the accident. It was traveling around nine mph downhill on Powell Street near Washington Street when the accident occurred. A screw or bolt in the cable groove caused the car to suddenly stop.

The cable system in San Francisco has alarms to alert the proper authorities about obstructions in the cable lines. However, no alarm sounded in this case. The spokesman for the MTA said that pieces of paper have set off alarms in the past. An accident investigation is ongoing, since it is not known why the metal object did not set off the alarm in this case.

The accident shows the variety of circumstances under which a personal injury claim may arise. For those injured due to the negligence of another person, company or agency, recovery may be possible against the responsible parties.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “7 hurt in cable-car accident,” Ellen Huet, Feb. 6, 2013