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Washington Metro faces lawsuit for subway incident

A lawsuit against the Washington Metro was filed as a result of a preventable subway incident that took the life of a woman.

Millions of people use public forms of transportation, such as the subway and Metro in Baltimore and Washington, each year. When working properly, these transportation options can be extremely beneficial. Not only does traveling on a subway or bus give area residents an affordable way to get to their destination, but they can also be confident that they will arrive safely and on time. An electrical malfunction that occurred in the Washington Metro in January of 2015, however, left many people wondering whether public transportation is safe and reliable at all.

The incident in question resulted in the death of a 61-year-old woman, and injuries to more than 80 other passengers who suffered from smoke inhalation. According to the Seattle Pi, passengers of the Washington Metro were struck within the train for more than 45 minutes after an electrical problem in the subway tunnel ahead caused the subway car to fill up with smoke. Responders took more than 30 minutes to arrive on scene. Furthermore, the ventilators in the subway tunnels were not working properly. Passengers were trapped for what seemed like forever before they were able to escape the train car and walk to safety. In an attempt to improve the safety of the subway system, the deceased woman's sons have filed a $50 million third-party lawsuit against the Metro Transit Agency. The men want to ensure that preventable accidents, like the one that took their mother's life, will not occur in the future.

Subway accidents

In order to make sure that commuters are safe, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority evaluates subway facilities and equipment each day. Yet, the National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating what went wrong with the subway and ventilation system during the January incident. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Metro's quarterly report shows that 85 incidents involving smoke and fire occurred within the first eight months of 2014, and 86 cases were reported in 2013.

In addition to equipment malfunction, subway accidents can also be caused by subway operator distraction, fatigue or intoxication. Excessive speeds, improperly switched lines and derailing are other preventable causes of subway incidents.

Wrongful death

What's required for a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland? According to Maryland statutes, a person's death must be caused by the negligence of another person or entity. In some cases, wrongful death can be prosecuted if the suspect had intent to harm the deceased victim. The family of the deceased may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case. Those who have lost a loved one in a subway accident or as a result of any other type of negligence may want to contact a personal injury attorney in Maryland.