The door of a green line car closes on a passenger — the T pays $6,000

A bus smashes into this stone wall on Washington Street — the T pays $10,000

A trolley knocks a bike rider onto Beacon Street– $60,000

We obtained the T's legal claims for the last two years–hundreds of them! Adding up to more than 17 Million dollars! Big, big bucks the T paid out to make up for its mistakes and unsafe conditions and negligence.

 Attorney Jason Stone, Boston "They're supposed to be extremely cautious, so they're supposed to put their schedules second and the safety of their passengers first. " 

Hank Phillippi Ryan"Does that always happen? " 

 Attorney Jason Stone, Boston" Apparently not ." 

An agency that's already cash-strapped, raising fares and doubling parking fees is depleting its bank accounts using your tax dollars to pay out legal settlements!

From $75.00 for damaged clothing to $10,000 for falling on a platform to $75,000 for being injured on an escalator. More than 1200 individual damage awards last year, that's an average of three payouts a day.

Hank Phillippi Ryan"Three times a day, the T is paying for something that shouldn't have happened! " 

Atty. Jonathan Feltner, MTBA Legal Dept."It does bother me that it's three, I wish it were zero. But it's not an extraordinary number in terms of the total ridership that we have. " 

Francine Sahlas was at this Beacon Street stoplight when her car was sideswiped by a bus.

Francine Sahlas, victim"There was never any question as to whose fault it was, the bus driver admitted it."

Paul Chebiniak was riding his bike near Fenway. He was awarded $60,000 after a Green Line smashed into him, sending him to the emergency room..

Paul Chebiniak, victim"Another rider was hit as well." 

31 injuries when a bus suddenly stopped 72 incidents where a green line hit a car 754 Bus collisions! People hit by doors and falling on stairways.

Rovan Anderson's portable shopping cart was smashed under the bus door.

Rovan Anderson, victim"The bus came full weight down on the wheels of the cart and cut it in half." 

We found sometimes the T pays huge damage awards: $125,000, $187,000, $385,000, $495, 000 and that makes the T different from any other Massachusetts state agency. If your car gets hit by a state highway department vehicle for instance, or you slip and fall down the state house steps the law sets a  $100,000 cap on damages.

But the legislature said for the T–there's no limit. With a cap? We calculated the T would have saved more than 2 million dollars last year alone.

T officials are pressing Beacon Hill to change the rules. 

Atty. Jonathan Feltner, MTBA Legal Dept."It would be beneficial for the T and for the taxpayers who fund the T."

 But those who represent victims say–there's a better use of their time.

Attorney Jason Stone, Boston"By training their drivers, by maintaining their facilities, and then they couldn't have to pay out so much in settlements."

Another way to calculate the payouts, sometimes the total of the damage awards gets so high, the Ts budget to pay them just runs out! And victims have to wait until money becomes available in the next years budget.

(Copyright (c) 2008 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox