Taxpayers spending big money on Metro accident settlements

SEATTLE -- His knee isn't great and neither is his shoulder, but Laurence Winston keeps trying to live a quiet retirement.

And as painful as it is sometimes, he still wants to get up and fight.

"It's the left knee," Winston said, lifting up his pant leg to show a black medical compression brace. "It's something I even have to sleep in it."

In a claim filed with King County, Winston claims he was riding on Metro's number 7 route along Rainier Avenue South in October, 2011. He says the bus hit a pothole and he went flying into the stairwell, jamming his knee and pulling part of his shoulder.

Even though it may seem minor, Winston's attorney Paul Routt says these accidents are pricey. Routt said his client has had $17,000 in medical bills.

"I feel confident about our position," Routt said.

The accidents are also pricey for taxpayers. In February, the {A href=""}Problem Solvers exposed how county taxpayers shelled out more than $23,000,000 in three years in big money settlements related to Metro Transit.

They are accidents that caused serious head trauma, broken bones and led to serious medical bills in dozens of cases. So far this year, the number is over $2,000,000.

In a statement, Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer wrote "Metro provides basic and ongoing training for bus drivers, focusing on safety as our top priority. Having professional and vigilant drivers, carrying hundreds of thousands of riders each day, makes things safer for everybody."

Metro's accident report in Winton's incident said no one else was injured and that his pain may not have been that bad according to witnesses.

Winston shows his knee brace to say otherwise.