Metro Light Rail Alternative

The Maryland/Washington D.C./Virginia region is densely populated, resulting in traffic congestion for work and tourist commuters. Light rail and bus routes provide benefits to travelers who do not wish to spend valuable time sitting in traffic, and spending excess money at the gas pump.

The governments for the three regions joined together in a consolidated venture for buses and light rail systems. The three jurisdictions birthed the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Many commuters in D.C. and the surrounding Metro area enjoy the benefits that light rail offers. Like any mode of transportation, light rail has risks involved for the passengers.

Light Rail Travel Risks

There are many key elements for a light rail train to operate effectively. Some may be obvious to the daily commuter, but others are often taken for granted. Some factors affecting light rail travel are below:

  • Train Engineers not Properly Rested:
    Light rail operators who work long shifts may benefit light the companies, but these overworked employees put passengers at risk due to engineer fatigue. When a train begins to approach a curve with a recommended speed limit of 30 mph, the engineer should not be asleep at the station when the rail car is traveling over 80 mph!
  • Faulty Track Rails:
    Old tracks may cause the wheels of the rail car to lose contact with the track surface. This condition is known as “wide gauge” in the industry. If rail tracks are not inspected at regular intervals, the track problem may remain undetected for a significant period of time. A rail accident is sometimes the only way the faulty track section is discovered.
  • Improper Rail Switch Points:
    Switch point errors in rail lines may be due to improper installation techniques with unsuitable tools. Also, Ice and snow in the winter months enable rail misalignments. Accidents may occur if this condition is not discovered during inspections.
  • Speeding:
    There is always risk when passengers have their lives in someone else’s hands. Speeding is dangerous, but a speeding accident with a light rail car will have more collateral damage than a standard four wheel vehicle, due to the number of people involved as well as the size of the light rail bus. Serious long- term injuries may occur as a result.

The above bullet points are associated with light rail cars, or the engineers operating the cars. Non-engineer control factors also pose threats to rail car travel. Some light rail crossings may be confusing to everyday drivers. If drivers do not properly read the signs, or the signs are inadequate, a distracted motorist may pull onto a track, and sit in harm’s way. Like any car-to-car or car-to-person situation, careful attention must be taken on both sides to avoid calamities.

Maryland Lawyers Provide Guidance

Studies have shown that travelers are losing trust in the light rail system. However, there are still benefits associated with WMATA’s public transportation routes. Light rail is here to stay. Time will tell if WMATA and other national agencies will sufficiently address problems associated with light rail and bus routes.

If one experiences the unfortunate circumstance of a light rail accident, there are unusual circumstances for those who wish to litigate. These items may not be familiar to people who never attended law school. WMATA is a government agency that has its own funding for lawsuits. As a result, procedural delays occur in litigation, making the court proceedings frustrating for injured plaintiffs. Accident victims should seek counsel from a knowledgeable lawyer who will guide them through this process.

Call a Maryland Attorney

Should the victim continue to drag a court case out over a period of time? Would arbitration or mediation be the better route? Arbitration would save significant money on attorney fees, as opposed to having a court case that could potentially extend out to four or five years. How does the victim enter into arbitration or mediation against a government agency? Legal counsel is advised for these urgent matters.

As a victim of a light rail accident, do you know the procedural requirements? Is filing an accident claim the same for a pedestrian as it is for a light rail passenger? It’s important to have an experienced lawyer to guide you in the proper direction. Dealing with government agencies can be frustrating as a stand-alone. If injured by light rail as a passenger or a pedestrian, do not go into litigation without a Maryland personal injury lawyer on your team. Contact the Jaklitsch Law Group today if you or a loved one have been injured in a rail accident.