Failure of MARTA to Address Known Dangers May Be Basis of Liability


April 15, 2011

MARTA is a vital means of public transportation in the greater Atlanta metro area. Sadly, the fear of being injured on the premises of a MARTA station because of inadequate security or poor maintenance continues to be more than an irrational fear.

A family whose son was killed in a brutal attack at the Five Points Station on New Year's Eve has filed a lawsuit blaming MARTA for providing inadequate security measures. According to the suit that was filed the boy was followed by a man who was threatening him and informed MARTA security guards that he was being threatened by the man. The guards did not escort him to safety nor do anything else to protect him. The man who was stalking the boy then slit the boy’s throat while taking the boy’s cell phone. The Atlanta law firm of Montlick and Associates represents those injured by the negligent conduct of MARTA and its employees including:

  • Those injured in MARTA bus accidents or MARTA train accidents
  • Victims injured by failure to maintain the premises of MARTA stations in a safe condition
  • People injured in a MARTA station because of inadequate security

The mother of the 19-year-old boy whose son was killed has taken legal action, not only against the alleged murderer of her son, but also against MARTA. Her personal injury lawsuit alleges that the East Point station was known to be unsafe due to high criminal activity and that MARTA was aware of the past pattern of violent crime in the station. The mother’s wrongful death lawsuit is based on the negligence of MARTA in failing to warn people of the dangers or implement more effective security measures at the station. The lawsuit also alleges that the station breached its duty to keep the public reasonably safe from these known patterns of violence.

The liability of MARTA is important because the public entity may be the only viable defendant. Many of those who commit violent crimes in MARTA stations are indigent and have no ability to pay a judgement. This lack of financial resources by those who commit violent attacks in MARTA stations and on other public and private property can make it difficult for victims to recover damages for serious injuries and wrongful death. Because MARTA has the financial ability to pay for its own failure to provide adequate security in the MARTA station, this mother’s loss is likely to go uncompensated unless the liability of MARTA is established.

Plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit may recover compensation for medical and funeral expenses as well as for economic support they would have received if the victim had lived. In some cases, the family of the victim can also be compensated for grief or loss of services or companionship. Punitive damages also can be awarded in a wrongful death case if a judge finds that the defendant's actions are egregious. Punitive damages are designed to punish and deter a defendant from taking such conduct in the future.

Inadequate security is not the only hazard in MARTA stations; the failure of MARTA to maintain the premises in safe condition has also been an issue recently. In January of last year, a boy fell down an elevator shaft at the Kensington MARTA station when the elevator door he was leaning against suddenly opened. The boy fell about 12 to 15 feet and landed on top of the elevator car below.

An investigation revealed that the elevator's parts called "gibs" that hold the elevator doors on the tracks were either bent or not in the door track. The elevator had been written up for maintenance by mechanics four times in the months that led up to the accident for the doors slipping out of the tracks. Despite these red flags, the elevator doors were not properly repaired. As in the inadequate security example, MARTA may be liable for its knowledge of a dangerous condition and failure to take adequate steps to make the premises safe.

If you are seriously injured or a loved one suffers wrongful death in Atlanta or elsewhere throughout Georgia or the Southeast, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys will work in your best interests to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Remember, there are legal time deadlines, so contact us without delay. Our experienced Atlanta public transit accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.