Washington, D.C. Metro Collision Lawsuit

On June 22, 2009, Washington, D.C.'s public rail system, Metro, suffered the worst accident in its 33 year history. Nine deaths have so far been reported as a result of the accident in which one commuter train rear-ended another during the evening rush hour. In addition, over 70 people went to local hospitals to be treated for injuries that ranged from minor sprains, cuts, and bruises to life-threatening collision injuries. All of the passengers suffered the emotional stress of being involved in the disaster, and witnessing the injuries of others, in addition to their own injuries.

The Washington, D.C. office of The Cochran Firm is prepared to help victims of the June 22, 2009 Metro crash and their families. If you suffered physical or emotional injury or lost a loved one in this tragic accident, contact us today to discuss your legal options. We do not charge a fee unless we recover compensation for you. There is no obligation arising from contacting our office to inquire about your rights.

Possible Causes of the Accident

At this point, no one knows what caused the one Metro train to hit the other. It may be months before the real cause is known. However, there are a number of theories being explored.

One of the leading theories is that one of the trains involved in the accident, an older train slated for replacement in the next few years, may have malfunctioned. The National Transportation Safety Board had previously recommended that the train and several others be replaced or retrofitted with better safety equipment, but neither had been done. Whether this caused the accident or not, failure to replace the cars with newer ones that met current crash standards may have contributed to the severity of the accident and resulting injuries.

Another possible cause for the accident is operator inattention or distraction. Two recent public transportation train crashes have been blamed on this. In May 2009, one trolley rear-ended another in Boston, and the conductor confessed to texting while driving. A September 2008 crash involving a Los Angeles commuter train and a freight train has also been blamed on operator inattention distraction. The operator of the moving train that crashed into the stationary train was inexperienced, which also could have contributed to the wreck.

Finally, a computerized system that is supposed to prevent accidents between Metro trains has failed in the past. In June 2005 two train operators had to engage the emergency brake to avoid a collision despite indications from the system that the track ahead was clear. Passengers on the impacting train report that the train did not brake before the impact, which could be indicative of operator inattention and distraction and system error.

Why File a Lawsuit?

Contrary to Americas reputation as a lawsuit-based society, study after study has shown that most people who are victims of accidents do not file lawsuits. There are many reasons for this, but if you have been hurt or lost a loved one, you owe it to yourself and your family to look objectively at your circumstances and consider whether filing a lawsuit would be the right thing for you and your family.

If you were hurt, you may need assistance to cover your medical expenses from the accident, and you have a right to lost wages to help pay your normal bills and additional expenses arising from your injury. And you have to consider the possibility of lingering disability and future medical expenses. You also may have a claim for pain and suffering as a result of your injuries, and for any emotional trauma, you experienced and potentially may continue to experience.

If you lost a loved one, no amount of money can compensate you for your loss. A lawsuit is not about putting a dollar value on the lost life. Instead, a wrongful death lawsuit helps you get on with your life in the wake of a tragic accident. If the lost loved one was a breadwinner or a homemaker, the money can help replace what your loved one was contributing to the household. If the loved one was a caregiver, the money can cover the additional expense of hiring professional caregivers for children. Also, you may also be able to recover for the estate of the deceased person for the pain and suffering they experience before their death.

Finally, lawsuits help drive home the importance of following up on safety warnings before tragedies occur. We might believe this to be self-evident, but someone somewhere may have decided to ignore the NTSB's warnings about the trailing train in the accident, and other warning signs that could have prevented the accident might have been ignored as well. Also, it is important to send a message to transportation services to which we all entrust our lives, that they must be highly safety conscious in all respects, including having proper procedures in place to avoid tragedies like this, maintaining equipment to high safety standards, and ensuring through proper training and experience requirements that their employees will act properly and protect the passengers.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in the Washington, D.C. Metro rail wreck of June 22, 2009, or suffered emotional trauma as a result of the crash and its aftermath, The Cochran Firm can help. Please contact us today to talk to one of our personal injury attorneys about your rights.