Articles Posted in Claims Against WMATA / MetroRail and Metrobus

The federal government shutdown seems to be affecting yet another area of public concern…this time the safety of Metrorail workers in the Washington, D.C., area. Our team of personal injury attorneys has recently learned about a downtown Washington, D.C., railway accident that killed one worker and injured two more just after midnight on October 6, 2013.

Due to the government shutdown, a statement published on the National Transportation Safety Board website stated that “due to a lapse in funding…the agency can only engage in those activities necessary to address imminent threats to the safety of human life or the protection of property.” According to the board, this recent accident “did not meet the criteria” required to bring back workers to investigate the incident and whether it was preventable or not.

Officials initially looking into the incident said that the crew had been working inside a tunnel on the Metro’s Red Line between Union Station and Judiciary Square stations when the incident occurred.

According to reports, a loud noise and a fire broke out about 70 to 80 feet away from where the rail workers were performing rail renewal, a process that involves removing old sections of rail and replacing them with new sections. Sources report that a portion of the Red Line had been shut down for a few days as part of Metro’s major rebuilding project. Immediately after the fire and noise, a 40-foot section of rail moved, hitting the three workers.

The victim fatally injured in the incident has been identified as Harold Ingram, 41, of New Jersey. The other two injured rail workers were taken to MedStar and to Howard to receive treatment for their injuries. Following the incident, they were listed in stable condition, but suffering from back-related injuries described as serious but non-life-threatening.

It is unclear as to what caused the rail to move and strike the men, or what the cause of the explosion was. But, reports did say that the nature of the men’s injuries did not appear to be caused by the fire, but rather by the collision with the metal rail. Metro has yet to comment on the NTSB decision not to look into the accident.

At Lewis & Tompkins, we’d like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Ingram, and our thoughts for a full and quick recovery to those injured by this recent Washington, D.C., railway accident.

Read More About NTSB Says ‘No Investigation’ to Metrorail Death and Two Injuries…

This week, the Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. decided to resign from his job after a year of tragic accidents involving the Washington, DC Metro system. However, many wonder whether this decision to step down from the job is a real symbol of coming change or an empty gesture that will do little to stop the problems, injuries, and fatalities that have plagued the DC transit system over the past year. Catoe said that the decision to leave was his own.

Some believe that Catoe inherited many of the problems faced by the District of Columbia Metro system – and that these are problems that will not be easy to fix by anyone who succeeds him. Catoe was faced with an old and crumbling infrastructure, a lack of funding, and a bureaucratic system that makes any change difficult.

According to the Washington Post, 2009 was the deadliest year ever for the DC Metro. A crash this summer killed nine and injured dozens while four other deadly accidents made it clear that the entire transit system suffered from a lack of safety measures and regulations. Specifically, many question how reliable the crash-avoidance system was and what types of safety inspections are taking place at all. All in all, eleven people died on the tracks this year while the number of track suicides rose.

According to the Washington Post, Washington DC Metro authorities fired the train operator involved in a train yard crash that took place earlier this month. In the crash, three Metro employees were injured (including the man who was fired) and an estimated $9 million of damage was done to the train cars and tracks.

Metro officials said that the operator was speeding at the time of the Metro accident, which occurred when one moving train slammed into a parked train. The train was going an estimated 18 miles per hour instead of the limit of 15 MPH. When trains approach parked trains, they are supposed to slow to 2 to 3 miles per hour. While Metro officials could not officially comment or give details regarding a train accident that is still under federal investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, they did say that the driver did not follow standard operating procedures and that the rule-breaking led to the train accident.

The train conductor has been tested for drugs and alcohol, though the results have not been released. The employee had been at his post for almost 11 hours at the time of the accident. He had a two-year history with the organization and had been a train operator for a year at the time of the accident.

Just six months after the deadly and shocking red line DC metro crash that killed nine people and injured dozens, another Metro crash in a northern Virginia rail yard left three workers injured and caused an estimated $9 million in damages.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is already deep in an investigation of this summer’s serious transportation, said on Monday that it would also launch a formal investigation of this crash, which in some ways resembles the Washington DC crash of earlier this year. The union that represents most Metro workers will also be conducting an independent investigation.

The accident occurred at the West Falls Church train yard in which one six-car train rammed into a stationary six-car train. All 12 rail cars involved were damaged in the train accident as were the tracks where the incident took place. The train operator of the moving train as well as two rail car cleaners were injured in the accident.

A Maryland Transit Administration bus and a car crashed on November 23 before 10 at night in Baltimore, Maryland. Rain and wet roads may have been a factor in the bus and car crash, which took place near the Franklin Square Hospital in Rosedale.

Four of the injured were taken just a few hundred yards to Franklin Square Hospital while the other four were rushed to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with varyingly serious injuries. It is unclear how many of the injured where from the bus and how many were from the car.

Baltimore County officials told reporters that the MD accident took place at the intersection of Franklin Square Drive and Abigail Drive and that one of the vehicles slid down an embankment. The MTA police and Baltimore police are investigating the car and bus accident, although the heavy rain at the time of the accident probably played a significant role.

After Washington DC’s tragic Metro rail crash in June – an accident that killed nine passengers and injured 80 people – the federal government is taking steps to oversee transit systems in a number of the country’s big cities including Washington. While the US government already oversees safety on planes, passenger trains, and highways, a 1965 law prevents them from overseeing subway systems and city transportation.

Currently, the country’s subway transit systems are overseen by state agencies, which are often very small committees that do very little to protect passengers from Metro accidents and injuries. In fact, in the last five years the number of people injured in light rail and subway accidents has tripled, while the average number of full-time employees in a state-run agency is one.

In the case of the District of Columbia, the Metro is run by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and overseen by the elusive Tri-State Oversight Committee. Investigators into the deadly Metro accident have found that the transit authority did not let the Oversight committee inspect the tracks during operation.

A new documentary short covering the tragic Washington, DC, Metro accident that occurred this summer is now being released. Using footage shot by area firefighter Vito Maggiolo, the 12-minute movie interviews emergency workers, passengers, and other officials that were involved in the worst Metro accident in United States history.

The documentary, which cost about $3,000 to produce will be used to help train emergency responders like EMS and firefighters. Filmmakers hope that the film will help first responders understand both the professional aspects and the personal aspects of responding to a disaster of this scope. The film captures the teamwork of the responders as well as the heartache that they felt while attending to the scene of the public transportation accident. The end of the film also serves as a memorial to the nine Metro crash victims.

Washington DC’s Metrobus has seen a string of tragedies recently – making city residents wonder if the public transit organization shouldn’t be taking more or better precautions to prevent bus accidents and bus accident injuries.

On Monday, October 5, a woman was hit by a Metrobus in Northeast Washington DC – she died of her fatal bus accident injuries the next day at Washington Hospital Center. Washington Police say that 61-year-old Stephanie Richardson was struck by the mass transit bus as she crossed Mount Olivet Road NE in the Trinidad area during evening rush hour in the city.

Richardson commuted on the bus to and from work at a Washington hotel, and was crossing in front of one Mertobus when another Metrobus in the next lane over struck her.

Just months after a deadly DC rail accident left nine people dead and dozens injured, a DC Metro rail worker has died on the job. This fatal DC rail accident raises even more questions about the safety of the Washington DC commuter rail system.

According to the Washington Post, 44-year-old John Moore of Arlington County, Virginia, died when he was struck by a train between the National Airport and Braddock Road stations. Moore was rushed to the hospital by emergency workers but died four days later. He suffered serious life-threatening injuries and was on life support before he passed away.

The deadly DC Metro accident is now under investigation, and no one is yet sure of how the communications technician was killed. According to initial reports, the man walked down the stairs to a door that opened onto the tracks and was struck when he opened the door. However, officials are not sure why he would go down to the tracks in the first place.

As federal investigators dig deeper into the reasons for this summer’s deadly Washington, DC, metro crash, they are finding that other Metro lines and commuter trains may be facing the same mechanical problems, failures, and dangers.

The recent discoveries surrounding the DC metro crash investigation has prompted federal officials to send out an urgent nationwide warning about these train issues to railroad conductors across the country.

The fatal flaw in the case of this public transportation tragedy is a kink in the system that could cause a track circuit to fail to detect an approaching train. Although it was not directly apparent how many other rail systems share this particular train detection system, the NTSB and the Federal Transit Administration both agreed that the warning should be sent out as a precaution. Later in the process, the FTA plans on exploring which other audio frequency track circuits there are in use and going from there.