Bus & Rail Accidents

About Bus & Rail Accidents

Almost everyone in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has used mass transit, and almost every week someone is injured while doing so. Injuries can occur when bus drivers close doors too quickly, accelerate too rapidly, and drive too carelessly. Injuries can also occur when subway trains derail or collide with other trains, subway escalators stop suddenly and without warning, train doors close on patrons, and areas in subway stations undergoing maintenance or construction are not cordoned off. WMATA, commonly known as Metro, vigorously fights most injury and death claims even when it plainly is at fault. WMATA typically argues that the maintenance, design, and construction of subway stations and trains are “discretionary functions” for which it is immune from suit. If you have been seriously injured on Metro, you’ll almost certainly need a Washington, D.C. bus accident lawyer with proven success against WMATA to overcome these technical legal defenses.

Experience and Track Record

Douglas Sparks has handled numerous injury claims against WMATA. His clients include an elderly woman who fell when a bus accelerated too suddenly, a young boy on a bicycle whose foot was crushed when a bus turned a corner too sharply, a woman whose leg was fractured after she slipped on an icy escalator, and a man whose knee was injured when a bus driver closed the door while the man was still boarding. WMATA settled several cases during litigation, and demanded jury trials in two others. Mr. Sparks won both trials. Metro appealed one of the verdicts, and Mr. Sparks won again on appeal. In its decision, the appellate court ruled – as Mr. Sparks had argued -- that Metro had a legal duty to warn patrons of dangerous conditions in its subway stations.

Representative Cases Handled by Mr. Sparks
  • An I.R.S security guard was commuting to work one snowy winter morning. She entered the Anacostia Metrorail station unaware that the station’s maintenance man hadn’t shown up for work, that the station’s elevators and escalators were out of service, and that the station’s heating system was broken. To reach her train, the woman had to walk down a steep escalator. She didn’t know that early commuters had tracked excessive ice and slush throughout the station and on to the escalator because the maintenance man hadn’t reported to work. Nor did she know that the escalator had become dangerously icy because of the broken heating system. As a result, the woman slipped and tumbled to the bottom of the escalator, severely fracturing her leg. Metro vigorously denied liability and the case went to trial. Washington, D.C. rail accident attorney Douglas Sparks presented evidence of numerous dangers in the station, and argued that Metro should have warned patrons of those dangers. The jury returned a verdict for the woman. The results of this case were published in Metro Verdicts Monthly, which you can read here.

  • Early one morning, a man attempted to board a Metro bus for his daily commute to work. The bus driver closed the door on the man’s leg while he was boarding and started to drive off. The man suffered serious leg injuries that required surgery. The bus driver — and another driver of a trailing bus — claimed the man’s leg had not been trapped by the bus door. Instead, they insisted he had fallen while running to catch the bus. Both drivers testified for Metro at trial. The jurors, appalled by the false testimony of Metro’s bus drivers, sent the judge a note during deliberations asking whether they could order Metro to pay the man’s legal fees. They quickly returned a verdict for Mr. Sparks' client. The results of this case were published in Metro Verdicts Monthly, which you can read here.

If you’ve been seriously injured in a Metro bus or rail accident, you should call Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer Douglas Sparks at (202) 797-8200, fill out his online case inquiry form, or email him at dsparks@sparkslaw.net.