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2 Cable car operators suffer serious workers' injuries

Slow moving cable cars are a common sight on San Francisco streets. People in California may be surprised to know that the operators of cable cars are exposed to life-threatening injuries -- considering that they travel at only 10 mph. While residents of San Francisco likely aware that the California Vehicle Code bars vehicles from passing stopped cable cars, visitors to the city may be uninformed. Following serious workers' injuries suffered by cable car operators in April and June, authorities are working on enhancing safety measurements.

With the average daily visitor count of 70,000 per day to San Francisco, the number of potential cable car-related accidents is significant. While helping passengers of his cable car in April, a 53-year-old operator was struck and dragged  by a car that driven by a tourist. He suffered leg and rib fractures, and a bleeding liver. Two months later, a cable car conductor, age 50, was struck by a suspected DUI motorcyclist. He is still fighting for his life at the hospital.

Authorities are working on ways to educate vehicle operators and post warning signs that are clear and visible. However, with so many drivers who may not pay notice to the rules and the warning signs, cable car operators remain exposed to life-threatening injuries. Most workers are covered by workers' compensation, the benefits of the system typically cover only medical expenses and lost income. Under certain circumstances, injured workers can pursue additional financial relief.

If workers' injuries are caused by a third-party -- as in the two cable car-related accidents -- workers may be entitled to file third-party personal injury claims in a California civil court. Additional damages for pain and suffering as well as other documented financial losses may be sought in a personal injury claim. Some workers find the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney invaluable. Affording the injured worker the time to recuperate and get back to work, an attorney can handle both the workers' compensation and related civil claims in pursuing fair compensation.

Source: sfgate.com, "Cable car safety boosted after 2 conductors injured", Jenna Lyons, Aug. 12, 2015

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