Family of Man Who Died at Marta Station in Fulton County is Awarded $9.6 Million
FULTON COUNTY, GA- According to law.com, a jury awarded the family of a man who died after falling 20 feet at the Civic Center MARTA station $9.6 million. The 42-year-old man had been drinking and was on the upper level of the MARTA station in February of 2013. The man fell in a location where a metal guardrail had been removed and replaced with a wooden rail, but that a section was missing. For seven months prior to the accident, there was a 25-inch unprotected space, which is where the man fell.*
Court documents indicated that the victim had a blood-alcohol level of .311% at the time that he died, indicating that he was intoxicated when the accident occurred. MARTA attempted to use this information to argue that the accident was the victim’s fault, but the argument failed. As a provider of public transportation, MARTA presents its services as a safe form of transportation for people who have been drinking. This likely made the attempt to blame the victim less successful.
MARTA also attempted to shift the blame for the accident onto developers who had begun a project to build a hotel next to the station but ceased construction due to economic troubles in 2007. The developers had been the ones to remove the rail in the first place. However, MARTA had been responsible for the property for years following the halted construction and moved their bus stop to the location three years after the developers had abandoned the project. The long gap between when developers left the site and the timing of the accident undermined MARTA’s attempts to deflect blame, and ultimately the plaintiff prevailed.
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