- April 27, 2022
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Wrongful Death
Train stations don’t need to be dangerous places. There’s no ironclad reason why MARTA commuters should have to stand next to sheer drops, leading down to electrified rails and into the path of the trains themselves, without so much as a handrail to protect them.
Airports don’t gather passengers along the side of the runway as they wait for their planes. High rise buildings don’t leave their elevator shafts hanging open when the elevator car itself is elsewhere. Yet train stations, including those run by MARTA, subject people to comparable risks every day as part of normal operations.
The consequences for train commuters have been predictably grisly, not just on rare occasions, but over and over again. Our MARTA accident lawyers can help if you or a loved one have been injured.
MARTA Is Trying to Cast Blame on Yet Another Train Accident Victim
On the morning of April 5th, at the Midtown station on 10th street, a man fell onto the southbound track and was fatally struck by a train. Emergency crews worked for several hours to extract the remains of the 71-year-old, who was later identified as Thomas Howard.
What was MARTA’s eminently sensitive response to the loss of Howard’s life? This tweet:
“Due to a trespasser on the trackway at Midtown, MARTA is offering subsidized transportation through MARTAConnect. Use the following link for a $15 Uber credit.”
The MARTA Police, a force entrusted with the safety of MARTA passengers, was also quick to present Howard as a trespasser, emphasizing in an interview with FOX that he was standing in a restricted area before his fall.
This is not the first time, however, that MARTA has hurriedly blamed a “trespasser” for a horrific accident and subsequent service delays, without waiting for a full investigation. The service made a nearly identical statement just three months earlier about another victim who fell onto the tracks, in spite of indications that his fall was due to a medical incident.
MARTA’s credibility on the subject of its own train accidents is, at the very least, highly suspect at this point. Based on the service’s public behavior, it seems quite determined to avoid acknowledging any responsibility for the recurring pattern of serious accidents in its stations.
Survivors and Family Members Can Help Hold MARTA Accountable
Just like any landlord, MARTA has a duty to protect people on its premises from foreseeable dangers. Falling onto the tracks and being struck by a train has been a foreseeable danger ever since unguarded train platforms were invented. Any legitimate doubt that ever existed as to the seriousness of that danger has been eliminated by the repetitive frequency of these accidents.
People who survive being hit by trains at MARTA stations, and the families of those who do not survive, have the right to sue MARTA for failing to add necessary safety features to station architecture and wrongful death. In cases where there is a significant delay between the fall onto the tracks and contact with a train, MARTA may also be liable for not instituting sufficient emergency shutdown procedures.
Unsafe train stations may be an accepted norm in the U.S for now, but the Stoddard Firm is committed to helping victims change this, and get the compensation they deserve.
If you are Thomas Howard’s next of kin, or if you have also been harmed by a MARTA train accident, give us a call to learn how we can help.