Maryland Public Transportation Accident Attorney

Public Transportation Accident Lawyer in MDThe state of Maryland, especially given that parts of the state fall within the Washington metropolitan area, is a center of traffic activity, linked by a flourishing mass transit system. Unfortunately, given the wide variety of ways we get around the area – as pedestrians, on bicycles and motorcycles, or in cars, trucks, taxis, buses, and trains – motor vehicle accidents involving mass transit happen rather often. Because of the sheer size of these mass transit vehicles and the number of people who use them, accidents such as collisions often have devastating results. They can occur on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) MetroRail trains and MetroBus lines, AMTRAK trains, and even school buses. But there can be jurisdictional overlaps when it comes to liability for mass transit accidents in the area, which is why the knowledge of a Maryland public transit accident lawyer can benefit those who are injured in such cases.

Some of the prominent causes of public transportation accidents include:

  • Traffic violations, such as tailgating, speeding, and illegal turns
  • Transit employees operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication
  • Inclement weather such as rain, snow, or ice

Regardless of how your accident took place, dealing with a public transportation incident involves unique legal issues. As an injured victim of such an accident, you need to understand how to protect your compensatory rights as you recover from your injuries and other losses you may have suffered.

Riding Public Transportation

When you get behind the wheel of your own vehicle, you are in charge of decisions regarding speed, turning, stopping, and all the choices that a responsible driver must make to avoid an accident. But when riding a bus or train, someone else is deciding for you; you have no say in how the large vehicle operates. The vehicle operators do their job with your safety in mind, and most of the time, you arrive at your destination safely. Unfortunately, there are sometimes exceptions.

Many accidents involving buses or trains also involve another vehicle or person. This makes public transit collisions very different from other roadway incidents and also makes them much more complicated. If someone’s negligence is the cause of the collision and you, as a passenger of the bus, train, or vehicle, are hurt as a result of that negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for physical, financial, and emotional damages suffered.

Sometimes public transit incidents are caused by the driver of another vehicle, and other times they are caused by the transit operator themselves. Either way, if you are an innocent passenger, someone is responsible for your injuries. Getting to the root cause of the wreck is necessary in order to figure out who is responsible.

When dealing with buses, for example, it’s important to know what kind of bus it is. There are public buses, school buses, private “coach” buses, and more. Each type of bus, which is used for a specific purpose, has its own rules, regulations, and expectations as to how it should safely travel our roadways. If you are injured in a collision or other type of incident involving a train, it is important to distinguish who operates that train.

Public Transportation Injuries

Few are aware that many train and bus injuries don’t occur on board the actual vehicle, but to passengers waiting on platforms or at bus stops. Slip and fall accidents are extremely common. Stairways may need repair or simply be slippery due to improper removal of water or ice. Security issues can include rail patrons being attacked or pushed onto the tracks. Train accidents can involve “crush” injuries if a door suddenly closes on hands, arms, or legs, and sometimes, accidental amputation of a limb is possible.Bus crashes are also common causes of passenger injuries, not to mention injuries to bike riders and pedestrians who may be struck by a mass transit vehicle, especially during rush hour on crowded city streets. Slip and fall incidents are also common with buses, especially while passengers are in the process of entering or exiting the vehicle. Driver negligence or fatigue, equipment failure, or maintenance issues can all contribute to a public transit accident and it is important that those who are in charge of the safety of the system’s riders are held responsible if they fail in that duty.

Underlying Causes of Public Transit Accidents

Like most serious personal injuries, a variety of elements can cause a mass transit incident that injures or kills passengers:

  • A computerized signal system fails, exposing trains to collision by not allowing adequate time to manually stop a train safely;
  • Improperly maintained train tracks cause an operator to lose control over the train’s maneuverability;
  • Obsolete or outdated railcars or other equipment necessary for the train’s safe operation break down;
  • Faulty train signals cause a disastrous collision, especially if speed is involved; and
  • Operator distraction or inattention leads to a crash, for example if the operator is using a cell phone or sending text messages while operating the vehicle.

 Protecting the Rights of Transit Accident Victims

WMATA is a self-regulating and self-insured public transportation entity. It is funded by participating community governments in the Washington, DC area, along with the states of Maryland and Virginia. WMATA conducts its own investigation when an accident happens and releases its own conclusions that may or may not be clear regarding liability for your injuries. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Maryland is three years, meaning that you must file a claim within three years of the date of the accident to have a chance at recovering damages.

Negligence is to blame in many transit accidents. Regardless of whether it is by vehicle operators, computerized management systems, or failure to properly maintain or update equipment, public transportation accidents are often caused because all necessary precautions and safety issues were not addressed prior to the incident occurring.

In any lawsuit filed against a public transportation entity, the plaintiff must clearly prove that negligence either directly caused the accident or was an underlying factor in the mishap. A seasoned Maryland public transit accident attorney with our firm can guide you through this complicated and often precarious process. If you, or a family member, have been injured at the hands of a negligent local mass transit entity, the best way to protect your compensatory rights is through the diligent efforts of an experienced injury lawyer.