Washington DC Metro Accident Lawsuits Expected Following Fatal Crash

Metro officials in Washington, D.C. are preparing for a number of accident lawsuits in the wake of a subway train crash on Monday, which left nine dead and more than 70 injured.

While investigators have not determined the cause of the crash, the Washington Times reports that lawyers across the area are already preparing to file DC Metro accident lawsuits against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which runs the Metrorail system.

The Metro accident occurred just after 5 p.m. on June 22, 2009, when one train rear-ended another outside of the Fort Totten Station, in Washington, DC, near the Maryland line.

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The rear train was traveling fast enough that the impact caused the front car to be hurled into the air and land on top of the back of the leading train. Seven people were killed almost immediately, including the rear train’s operator, and two more have succumbed to injuries since the subway crash.

WMATA faces potential liability in the tens of millions of dollars as a result of the subway accident lawsuits, which will could be filed by families of deceased victims or those who were injured in the train crash. The authority asked Tuesday that Metro accident victims to submit claims directly to WMATA’s risk management department as an alternative to litigation, but Washington D.C. and Maryland personal injury lawyers recommend that victims speak with an attorney before contacting WMATA.

National Transportation Safety Board officials expect the investigation into the crash to take some time. Officials say that the trains were on computer control, and the operator of the rear train, Jeanice McMillan, appears to have hit the emergency brake before the crash. However, some survivors have said they never heard the brakes engage. McMillan was killed instantly.

McMillan’s train was an older model that probably did not have a data recorder, and some media reports have indicated that the WMATA was already aware of concerns that the older trains might suffer safety problems and needed to be replaced.

WMATA has set up a $250,000 relief fund for victims of the Washington, D.C. Metro accident that need immediate assistance.

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  • VincentJune 24, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    WMATA is very aggressive at using sovereign immunity to defeat PI lawsuits. It claims that virtually every technical decision is a "discretionary function"

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