Public transportation is a vital service that benefits the economy and the environment and supports mobility for individuals who are unwilling or unable to maintain and drive their own cars. Unfortunately, Atlanta residents who rely on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) system often find themselves facing unsafe conditions, including problematic maintenance and poor security standards.
At The Stoddard Firm, we believe public spaces and services should be safely available to everyone, and we’re committed to holding both corporate and government entities accountable for the MARTA accidents that impact the public.
Why Choose Us?
The Stoddard Firm Has Experience with Negligent Security, Premises Liability, and MARTA Itself
You have the right to travel on public transportation without injury. If you have been hurt while utilizing MARTA transportation, you may be able to be compensated for your injuries. A seasoned MARTA injury lawyer can make a difference in getting you the settlement you deserve. You want to choose the best firm for the job, one you can rely upon to help you move forward.
Knowing how to pursue compensation is confusing. The laws are complex, the process is time-consuming and you are likely in considerable pain. Working with a professional allows you to leverage their experience and expertise. When you work with The Stoddard Firm regarding your MARTA train accident or MARTA bus accident, you reap the benefits of their:
Specific Experience: Our team is well-versed in Georgia law and managing cases in the Atlanta courts. Led by Matthew Stoddard, we have years of experience maximizing settlements for our clients who have been injured as they traveled on public transportation.
Technical Knowledge: MARTA accident cases require an in-depth understanding of premises liability and negligent security. Our team is accomplished in both.
Reputation for Success: We have a history of winning cases like yours; we will use this experience to benefit you.
Client Satisfaction: Nothing speaks more strongly of our ability than the words of our clients. Several have generously taken the time to thank us for our service and allowed us to share their experiences. Their opinions are the greatest testament to our success.
Every organization that invites guests and employees onto its premises is responsible for taking reasonable measures to keep those individuals safe from accidents and crime. Likewise, any organization that operates vehicles is responsible for making sure those vehicles are operated safely. One crime or accident might be an “isolated incident,” but after the danger has made itself known, both private companies and public institutions like MARTA have an obligation to take steps to prevent that same danger from befalling more people in the future. Yet crimes and accidents keep happening on MARTA premises and vehicles, often following repetitive patterns.
As Atlanta locals, the lawyers of The Stoddard Firm understand how scary and frustrating it can be to have to choose between forgoing the benefits of our city’s public transit system and risking injury or death along the way. We’re well-versed not only in the relevant areas of the law but in the state of the MARTA system itself. We are familiar with past cases, and we know how to explain what MARTA could and should have done better. We can explain both to judges and juries in a compelling, understandable manner.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a crime or accident in a MARTA facility or vehicle, we can help. Give us a call today at 470-467-2200 for a completely free consultation on your case.
How Our MARTA Accident Lawyer Can Benefit You
We Manage Your MARTA Injury Lawsuit
If you were injured while using MARTA, your emotions are likely running high. Of course, accidents can happen, but when they occur because of the negligence of the transportation system or security, they are simply inexcusable.
You are hurting and frustrated, and concerned about what the future holds. Just the thought of filing a lawsuit is overwhelming. You likely have no idea of what to do next. Well, we do. When you make the decision to work with a Stoddard MARTA accident lawyer, you can rest assured that we will manage every step of the legal process on your behalf, including:
Filing all paperwork in accordance with Atlanta’s statute of limitations.
Investigating the circumstances surrounding your accident.
Identifying the totality of your losses.
Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf.
Litigating your claim in court if an appropriate agreement cannot be reached.
Basically, our seasoned professionals handle everything so you can focus one hundred percent of your energy where it belongs — on your recovery.
Our team knows that timing is critical, and we are ready to go to work for you immediately. Reach out to us at 470-467-2200 and schedule a consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding MARTA Accidents
Our MARTA Accident Lawyers Respond
Shockingly, MARTA accidents are relatively commonplace. That said, knowing how to move forward after one is incredibly confusing. The legal process is filled with complicated terms, mountains of paperwork, and strict deadlines. It is not surprising that those contemplating a lawsuit have a lot of questions. Below, our Atlanta MARTA injuries lawyer provides answers to some of the most common concerns our clients have raised.
I was injured in a MARTA bus accident; how long do I have to file a lawsuit?
Based on the Georgia statute of limitations, you would have two years to file your lawsuit from the date of your injury. The same time limits hold true for MARTA train accidents. Our MARTA accident lawyer will meet all filing deadlines ensuring your case can be heard.
What type of damages am I entitled to if I have been injured on MARTA?
Under Georgia law, you could be entitled to a combination of economic and non-economic damages. In certain situations where extreme or purposeful negligence was proven, you may even be entitled to punitive damages. Our MARTA accident lawyers can help identify all which may apply.
If my personal property was damaged during my MARTA accident, do I have any recourse?
Yes, you do have the right to compensation for damage to personal property. Our MARTA accident lawyer can file suit for you. This would need to be done within four years.
My family member was killed in a MARTA accident. Do we have any recourse?
Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, and whether or not negligence was involved, you may. Our wrongful death lawyer can review the specifics regarding your loved one’s accident and determine whether you have a viable case.
How much does it cost to retain your Atlanta MARTA injuries lawyer to handle my case?
Because we work on a contingency basis, you pay us nothing unless we win your case. At that point, we would receive a percentage of the settlement which you are awarded. Our premises liability lawyer can provide more information regarding this when we meet with you.
Clearly, this list of questions is not all-encompassing. It is not surprising that you would have more. Our MARTA accident attorney is happy to address them when you schedule a no-cost consultation. During this meeting, we can learn the specifics of your accident and provide more tailored responses to your concerns.
Traveling on MARTA Can Be Particularly Hazardous
Escalator Maintenance Has Been a Recurring Problem for MARTA
Over the past decade and beyond, maintenance of the elevators and escalators in MARTA stations has been shuffled between two contractors: Schindler Elevator Corporation and Elevator Specialists, Inc. In that time, both companies have contributed to MARTA’s sordid history of avoidable accidents.
In November of 2006, a woman was injured on an escalator at Five Points Station when it jerked and stopped abruptly, according to witness accounts. She ultimately won her subsequent lawsuit against MARTA and Schindler, which should have been a wake-up call for them both. Yet barely more than a year later, three MARTA escalators failed on the same day, two of them at Five Points Station. Twelve passengers reported injuries, including a broken leg.
In maintenance records uncovered by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of the three faulty escalators was described as having gone into “free fall” a month earlier, in spite of MARTA’s insistence that nothing like this had happened in at least five years. Both MARTA and Schindler contended that Elevator Specialists was the true culprit in this incident, but a court ruling found only MARTA and Schindler to be liable, again, and awarded $1.4 million to the woman whose leg was broken.
That’s not to say that Elevator Specialists have a clean record when it comes to keeping MARTA passengers safe. In perhaps the most disturbing maintenance incident of all, MARTA had to shut down 100 of its escalators in 2010, after a whistleblower accused an Elevator Specialists contractor of deliberately disabling the safety system on at least one escalator, and possibly others on which he worked.
It seems that MARTA had been relying for some time on Elevator Specialists for escalator maintenance, following the aforementioned accidents under Schindler. After discovering the sabotaged safety system, however, MARTA ended its contract with Elevator Specialists and began a new one with Schindler, returning responsibility for the escalators to them. Eight months after the switch back to Schindler, another escalator failure, reminiscent of so many others that had happened on Schindler’s watch, occurred at the Lenox station.
In spite of this, Schindler has remained responsible for MARTA’s escalator maintenance and received a modernization contract expected to last through 2026. Meanwhile, accidents have continued occurring on MARTA escalators, including one that caused the amputation of a 3-year-old girl’s foot.
One might almost feel sorry for MARTA, being let down again and again by the external companies entrusted with station safety, except that the corruption surrounding MARTA’s maintenance has come from within as well. In January of 2018, a MARTA executive was convicted of orchestrating an invoice scheme in which he paid vendors more than half a million dollars for maintenance that was never performed. The investigation found that most of that money ended up in the executive’s own bank account.
Other MARTA Station Hazards
The same year as the alleged escalator sabotage, a 5-year-old boy survived a fall down an elevator shaft at Kensington Station, when the elevator doors mysteriously disengaged. Though the contractor accused of bypassing escalator safety had not worked on any elevators, whatever maintenance the elevator did receive was clearly not adequate to ensure safety.
In 2018 alone, a maintenance contractor working on the rails was hit by a train at Medical Center Station, a security guard was hit by a fare cart at Lindburgh Station, and a guest fell 20 feet to his death through a missing guardrail at Civic Center Station. The falling victim’s family was awarded $9.6 million for his wrongful death, and the security guard was awarded $1.1 million for his injuries. A case filed by the wife of the contractor hit by the train is still pending.
More recently, in March of 2020, a woman was awarded $1.65 million dollars for an injury that occurred when a wheelchair ramp closed on her foot.
Accidents Happen Regularly En Route
Once passengers board MARTA vehicles, they face another set of dangers. MARTA buses in particular have been involved in numerous traffic accidents resulting in injuries and property damage.
As recently as June of 2019, a MARTA bus “made contact with” a pedestrian, in the words of a MARTA spokesperson acknowledging the incident. The pedestrian had to be treated for foot injuries in a local hospital.
Back in September of 2016, another MARTA bus was involved in a head-on collision that injured twelve MARTA passengers and the driver of the other vehicle. Four months before that, yet another MARTA bus struck a car in the lane next to it while attempting to turn left. The bus driver was cited for making an improper turn. No one was hurt, and MARTA acknowledged responsibility, but what’s troubling about that particular incident is what the driver of the other vehicle had to go through to get MARTA to respond with more than words.
The driver’s car was totaled, and, according to his account of events, MARTA took over a month to provide him with a rental car and then forced him to return it without giving him the promised reimbursement he needed to replace his own car. The driver eventually turned to the press for help, and when a reporter from FOX 5 Atlanta asked a MARTA representative why the payment deadline had been missed, the response blamed the dealership MARTA had promised to send the payment to. In emails provided by the driver, however, MARTA had previously attributed the slowdown to a transition in its own leadership.
In his interview, the driver stated that MARTA’s claims representatives had been unreachable by phone, and expressed his quite reasonable concern that this kind of delay could be life-ruining for someone in a more precarious financial situation than his own.
The MARTA Police Have a Dubious Record of Protecting Commuters from Crime
In addition to accidents, crime continues to be a serious issue for MARTA commuters. According to the MARTA police department’s own public reporting, commuters on MARTA vehicles and property have been subject to an annual average of 50 robberies, 84 aggravated assaults, six cases of arson, and one rape in the years 2014-2018. The aggravated assault statistics are particularly concerning, showing a 54% total increase across those five years. Although homicides on MARTA property are rare according to this internal reporting, 2017 saw an abrupt spike of five cases in a single year.
Two of those 2017 homicides occurred within days of each other, at separate stations, and with no apparent connection between them. The first was a shooting at College Park Station, the second a stabbing on a train bound for Avondale Station. In the stabbing incident, which was caught on MARTA’s security cameras, a passenger apparently refused and argued with a panhandler, followed him when he moved on to another compartment, and then grabbed his clothes, initiating a fight. When the panhandler gained the upper hand, the other passenger drew a knife and stabbed him repeatedly, according to police.
Passengers Have Expressed Serious Concerns over MARTA Police Responsiveness
Reporting aside, other incidents have called into question the MARTA police department’s effectiveness at responding to crimes in progress. In August of 2017, a woman filed a suit against MARTA after a man allegedly “performed a sexually lewd act” while sitting across from her and making eye contact on the train. The woman says she pushed one of the provided red buttons to notify the MARTA police and also alerted the driver, who called central dispatch and received repeated promises that police would be waiting at the next stop, and then the next, and the next. According to the suit, no police ever arrived, the suspect was only arrested after disembarking of his own accord and leaving MARTA property, and MARTA never notified the woman that he had been apprehended.
These incidents are known as negligent security which is an issue that can be cause for a lawsuit.
The Reality May Be Significantly Worse than the Numbers
One 2018 investigation by CBS46 indicates that the statistics provided by the MARTA police may not tell the whole story. The investigation examines several lawsuits filed by passengers who claim MARTA failed to protect them from violent crimes. One plaintiff says she was kidnapped from Lindburgh Station and assaulted in 2002. Another says she was kidnapped from an Atlanta station in 2015, beaten, and raped. Yet another suit claims that a man shot two passengers in 2017, one of them fatally. Upon examining MARTA’s public reports, the attorney for the first kidnapping victim found that her incident had been left out of the statistics. This was apparently due to a policy of excluding any cases in which the victim was kidnapped from a MARTA location and taken elsewhere, on the grounds that the crime was no longer on MARTA property.
CBS46 says MARTA did not respond to an investigator’s questions about whether this policy has changed since 2002, but a cursory comparison between MARTA’s more recent statistics and the cases that have made the news cycle suggests that these omissions may still be ongoing. In November of 2016, a man was shot at the H.E Holmes MARTA station and later died of his injuries. A month earlier, another man was found dead in the trunk of a car in the parking lot of the same station. That same November, another man was shot and killed in front of the Five Points station, and a bystander was injured.
Though all three incidents were reported on by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the MARTA police reported no homicides at all in 2016. The incident at Five Points may not have been quite within the boundaries of MARTA property, and the man found in the trunk may have been killed elsewhere and dumped at the station, but if MARTA’s rationale for not reporting the fatal shooting at the H.E Holmes station is simply that the victim died in the hospital instead of at the scene, it’s a tenuous reason indeed.
Contact Us Today
Obtaining Justice for You Is Our Ultimate Goal
Safe travel on MARTA trains and buses is your right. When that right has been violated, and you become injured, our firm believes the negligent party/parties should be held responsible. Medical care is costly, as is time away from work while recovering. The emotional damage caused by MARTA accidents is considerable.
If you find yourself in this position, reach out to our highly regarded Atlanta MARTA accident lawyers immediately. We understand the ins and outs of cases like this and are adept at handling any complications which may arise. We have a well-earned reputation for success and are ready to go to work on your behalf. Contact us at 470-467-2200 to schedule a consultation.
Attorney Matt Stoddard
Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]
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Any time you walk into a building in Georgia and see an elevator, you’re looking at a collaboration between at least two separate organizations, usually more.
First, there’s the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, which is responsible for performing regular inspections on all licensed elevators in Georgia.
Typically, there’s also a private company providing regular maintenan...