Woman Dragged by MARTA Bus While Stuck in Door


May 20, 2011

According to a MARTA spokesperson, "Safety and security are MARTA's highest priorities..." These seem like hollow words in light of an incident that just occurred involving one of their buses and 62 year old passenger Lettie Robinson.

Lettie Robinson was disembarking from a MARTA bus late on Sunday night when she realized she had forgotten her purse on board the bus. She turned around to get back on the bus for her purse when the bus driver closed the door trapping her arm inside. The bus driver then pulled away dragging her alongside the bus. Witnesses said the bus driver drove 63 feet with Lettie alongside before a car pulled in front of the bus, forcing it to stop.

The bus pulled to a stop and opened the door sending Lettie Robinson crashing to the hard pavement where she then rolled in front of the bus. The bus driver then pulled out around her and drove off leaving the scene. The 62-year-old woman was taken to the hospital for her injuries. She suffered a broken arm and lacerations on her arms and legs. She is now recovering at home.

The bus driver, Belinda McMillan, was located with help of a MARTA bus route supervisor. She has been temporarily suspended from duty, and she is being charged with reckless conduct and being held in the Fulton County Jail. There has been a $1000 bond posted for her release. The MARTA transit authority is now conducting an internal investigation.

Finding Liability

If evidence is found in this case that the driver was aware that this person was literally caught up in the door, then liability for the accident could even involve punitive damages. The fact that she left the scene of the accident even after knowing that the woman was injured may also justify a punitive damage award.

In Georgia an injured party may pursue a claim against a party or parties that cause their injuries. If the party or parties are found negligent and that negligence caused the plaintiff's injuries, then the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation.

Employees, as well as employers, can be sued for the negligent conduct of an employee in the scope of one’s employment. A person who suffers loss as a result of the negligence of any employee can sue either the employee or the employer or typically both. The employer gets sued most often because they usually have more assets and carry insurance.

Personal injury claims are settled either in a formal lawsuit or, more commonly, through an informal settlement. An informal settlement is a negotiation between a plaintiff and the defendant. Compensation is awarded when a verdict or negotiated settlement is reached. Minor to moderate injury cases are usually compensated with a lump payment.

The liability of MARTA is important because the public entity may be the only viable defendant in a personal injury case. An employee of MARTA may have no ability to pay a judgement. This lack of financial resources by those employees who are liable for negligence in MARTA stations or in any MARTA vehicles can make it difficult for victims to recover damages for injuries. Because MARTA has the financial ability to pay for its own failure to provide for the safety of its passengers, this woman’s injuries are likely to get compensated if the liability of MARTA is established. However, a claim against a public entity requires providing the public entity with a timely notice of claim. Because the legal time deadline for formally initiating a claim against a public entity is shorter than for other types of claims, it is important to seek immediate legal advice.

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 work in the best interests of our clients to help them obtain the compensation they deserve. 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.