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Metrorail Injuries

Metrorail, which is operated by the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and serves commuters in Maryland, the District, and Northern Virginia, has recently made headlines due to its dilapidated systems causing smoke and fires. Not only do the fires and malfunctions cause inconvenient delays for the three quarters of a million daily riders of Metrorail, but also the smoke and fires cause injuries and even death.

Recent Metro Accidents and Injuries

In 2009, Metro’s malfunctioning systems and careless maintenance practices caused a tragic accident in which nine people, including eight passengers and the operator, were killed. The automated braking system on a Red Line train travelling near Fort Totten station failed to register that there was an out-of-service train parked on the tracks ahead. The computer failed to apply the brakes, and the trains collided in the most serious accident in Metro’s history. Since the crash, Metro shut down its automated train-operating system and all Metro trains have been manually driven.

In January of last year, 84 people were hospitalized, including one person who died of smoke inhalation, when a stalled Yellow Line train near L’Enfant Plaza filled with smoke from a track fire. It took 40 minutes before firefighters arrived to evacuate the train, exacerbating the problem, because they were unsure as to whether the electrified third rail had been deactivated. This year, there have been further fires and forced evacuations.

Negligent Maintenance

In March, WMATA took the unprecedented step of shutting down the Metrorail system for 24 hours for inspections and safety repairs. But problems are still happening. Only last month, there was a fire on the Red Line track that necessitated the evacuation of a train in a tunnel and caused hours of delays.

Fires and smoke inhalation injuries have been caused by Metro’s failure to maintain heavy-duty power cables. The cables’ aging insulation wears out and electrical wiring is exposed, causing arcing, fires, and smoke. But Metro officials have focused on expansion, opening the Silver Line and other new stations, rather than maintenance of the increasingly rundown existing lines.

Metro and Personal Injury

If a person is injured on Metrorail, WMATA may be held liable for those injuries. The owner of any public space is required by law to take care to ensure the safety of those who enter the premises. Thus, if they know that a dangerous condition or problem exists on the premises, and do not take efforts to protect visitors or customers from the danger, the owner can be held liable for resultant injuries. This rule includes the owners and managers of public transit such as the Metro.

WMATA’s negligent maintenance of Metro tracks and cars may mean that they can be held liable for monetary compensation for any injuries suffered as a result of their negligence. This may include damages for medical costs, lost wages from time taken off work because of injury, pain and suffering, rehabilitative expenses, and resultant physical impairment and disability.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

At the Law Office of Robert R. Castro, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience representing clients who have been injured in accidents in Waldorf, St. Charles, Clinton, Charles County, St Mary's County, or anywhere in the State of Maryland. If you have suffered an injury on Metrorail or other public transit, please call us at 301-804-2312 today for a free initial consultation.

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