SF Muni Accidents: How To Tell If You Have A Lawsuit

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

The San Francisco Municipal (Muni) Railway System is a common carrier operating light rail vehicles, an extensive bus system, trolleys and streetcars. Serving 200 million passengers every year, accidents are bound to happen. And they do – frequently. So, how do you know if you have a lawsuit against Muni and how can you beat the very short six month deadline to file? To find out, we asked J. Niley Dorit, a California attorney whose practice represents those injured by the Muni public transportation system.

Determining whether you have case

If you are a passenger on the railway system and there’s an accident involving your cable car or bus with any other vehicle and you’re injured, then you likely have a claim against the Municipal Railway system and possibly against a driver of another vehicle, according to Dorit. He explained:

I would say that anybody who’s either a passenger or a pedestrian, or another driver or a passenger in another car that’s involved in an accident where the Municipal Railway appears to have been at fault, has a legitimate claim against the Municipal Railway system. If the injury is serious enough, they’re better off talking to a private attorney rather than to the Municipal Railway investigators.

Dealing directly with Muni’s claim department not always advisable

Muni has it’s own claim department, but Dorit says that it’s not always advisable to use it after you’ve been injured. He explained:

I believe that somebody in the Municipal Railway system is assigned to risk management, although when the cases get to be litigated cases – that is, where there is an attorney involved because it’s a fairly serious injury – the city attorney’s office for the City of San Francisco defends the Municipal Railway system.

For anything involving a hospitalization, a serious injury, a fracture or worse, I think the prudent course of action would be not to deal directly with the Municipal Railway system, but rather to go through an attorney. There are a number of very strict deadlines that apply to those claims and there’s information that has to be generated to present the claim. Because this deadline is so short, going to the Municipal Railway system may involve delay that ultimately leaves the person without a remedy for their claim because the time has expired.

Strict six month statute of limitations to file a claim

The deadline for making a claim against Muni is only six months – and Dorit says that it’s a strict six-month deadline from the date of injury which applies to all public entities in California, the State of California and the County of San Francisco. The Municipal Railway, being part of the County and City of San Francisco, is covered by that deadline. Dorit told us why meeting that deadline is often difficult:

Let’s say that somebody is injured or hospitalized for some period of time. By the time they’re done with their hospitalization, they’re home, they get their bearings and they make arrangements for whatever they have to do for their work or with their family, oftentimes they’re coming well into that six-month period. They’re close to the deadline, so it would be important to speak with an attorney right away whenever there’s any Municipal Railway accident because of that deadline.

If you’ve been injured by a Muni vehicle, contact an experienced California train injury attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. You may be entitled to damages for your injuries – but don’t forget the six month deadline to file.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption