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Light Rail Train Accidents – Metro Transit

March 2007


Beginning June 26, 2004, the Hiawatha Line offers fast, quiet light-rail service to 12 stations between downtown Minneapolis and Fort Snelling.

Dozens of bus routes are timed to connect with trains at Hiawatha Line stations, making it easy to get to work, to shopping or wherever you need to be. Hop on!

In December, trains will serve an additional five stations at the airport, in Bloomington and at Mall of America. Until then, a shuttle bus will meet trains at Fort Snelling for continuing service to those destinations.

Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which people are typically injured while using the light rail trains. In many instances, these accidents could have been prevented, had the Public Transit Authority exercised proper care as required by the law.
A defective turnstile can be the cause of a accident. In one reported case in New York, a passenger was injured by being thrown to the ground while trying to enter through a turnstile, when a large crowd, leaving a train was trying to get through the same turnstile in the opposite direction. The court ruled that because the Transit Authority failed to open the exit gates during the rush hour, they had failed to use reasonable care in the operation of its turnstiles and were found to be liable for the injuries sustained by the passenger.
A more common type of light rail train accident occurs when a passenger is struck by a closing car door or gets caught in the doorway of a moving train before having the opportunity to enter or exit. Reasonable care must be used in the closing of train car doors to prevent injuries to those persons entering and exiting, or the Public Transit Authority will be responsible for any injuries sustained.
Another common accident occurs where a unusually large space exists between the edge of a platform and the doorway of the train. Although it is sometimes impossible to avoid open spaces, due to curves in the tracks, the Public Transit Authority must take reasonable precautions to prevent injuries that may result from certain imperfections in the tracks.
For example, the Public Transit Authority must provide proper lighting, place warning signs in the stations, or even provide announcements over a public address system to warn of the potential dangers that may exist because of spaces between the platform and incoming trains.. If the Public Transit Authority does not take these precautions and an accident occurs, they will be legally responsible.
The law requires the Public Transit Authority to maintain its stations in a reasonably safe condition as well. They are responsible for the upkeep platforms leading to and from the trains. Thus, if a passenger is injured by reason of falling on a poorly lighted or otherwise negligently maintained stairway, the Public Transit Authority can be held responsible.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a light rail train accident, call Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben at 612-377-7777 or fill out our free case evaluation form. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations so please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.

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