$18.75 Million Judgment Entered Against MARTA in Passenger Fall
ATLANTA, GA- Blog.cvn.com writes that a judge in Fulton County entered a judgment more than $18.75 million against the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, (MARTA) for a fall that resulted in a passenger of para transit suffering a catastrophic brain injury.*
A week earlier, a jury had issued a $25 million award that found that MARTA held 75 percent of the liability for the injuries sustained by Jaccolah Johnson. Johnson had mobility issues which is why she rode on the service’s mobility vans. In 2016, then 66-year-old Johnson fell while exiting the vehicle. The injuries left her in a “vegetative state.” Johnson was determined to share some of the liability for the accident. The award was reduced to reflect her 25 percent share of the liability.
The trial was focused on whether MARTA neglected to safeguard disabled passengers as they exited the vehicles. Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the bus had too steep of an angle on the steps to exitand that the handrails were a poor design. The attorneys also pointed out that MARTA’s policy does not require drivers to “shadow” disabled passengers while they exit from the vehicles.
MARTA argues that they offer assistance when it is requested, but that whether or not a rider gets assistance exiting is up to the individual rider. However, industry standards dictate that riders should be shadowed as they exitand that Johnson was not on the day of the accident.
The only expert used to discuss industry safety standards concluded that if the driver had been up and assisted Johnson, the fall would not have occurred. MARTA was found to have failed to provide the tools necessary to prevent this type of accident.
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