Personal Injury Basics: Car, Bus and Train Crashes

Colbert Law Firm

Regional motor vehicle accident news and statistics

Even at the best of times, Washington D.C., and Maryland roads pose significant challenges for drivers, pedestrians, motorcycle riders and bicyclists. Sometimes our local and regional thoroughfares can be downright dangerous. As reflected in the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) 2018 annual report more than 550 people died in 115,266 police-reported motor vehicle accidents statewide during the previous year. In all, 347 drivers (including 268 in vehicles and 79 on motorcycles) perished. The 2017 death toll also included130 pedestrians and bicyclists, and 81 passengers. More than 51,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents throughout Maryland. A recent accident in the District of Columbia also highlighted the potential for death or serious injuries. According to published reports, two people died and several were injured in an early January collision in Southeast D.C. The reports indicated that the two-car crash happened on Alabama Avenue Southeast, near the Congress Heights Metro Station. Speed and failure to stop at a red light apparently contributed to the crash. If you are involved injured in a motor vehicle accident in the District, (or anywhere else) experts generally recommend:

  • Remaining on the scene
  • Making sure everyone else is okay (if possible)
  • Calling 9-1-1
  • Getting a police report
  • Reporting the incident to your insurance company
  • Seeking medical attention as soon as possible
  • Take pictures of the scene and property damages, providing you can do so safely
  • Seeking legal advice and guidance from a skilled personal injury lawyer


The potential for serious injuries in a bus crash is all too real

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017 report for 2017, there were more than 980,000 registered buses in the United States that year. For the purposes of the report, buses were defined as “any motor vehicle designed primarily to transport nine or more persons, including the driver.” In all, 15,000 bus crashes resulted in injuries to 25,000 people that year. Injuries typically occur when:

  • The bus you are riding on is involved in a crash
  • You are in another vehicle involved in a collision with a bus
  • You are a pedestrian, or bicyclist who is hit by a bus

In any case, one of the single most important things you can do is to seek medical attention – even if you don’t think you are badly hurt. This is critical not only for your health, but for any legal action you may decide to pursue. If at all possible, you should also document the scene by taking photos, make sure the accident is reported to the proper authorities. Because it may be difficult to obtain compensation on your own, consider consulting a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with these sorts of accidents.

Not all train accidents involve derailments

When most people hear about train accidents, derailments immediately come to mind. However, other types of incidents may also claim lives and cause significant injuries. In an accident report issued May 3, 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board cited several safety concerns associated with a January 12, 2015 incident in Washington, D.C. In this particular case, a commuter train operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) was affected by dense smoke conditions in the tunnel between the L’Enfant Plaza station and the Potomac River Bridge. An ensuing loss of power to the electrified third rail stranded the train, packed with roughly 380 passengers, in the tunnel. Some passengers self-evacuated and others got out with help from first responders. In all, the accident caused 91 injuries and one death. Depending on the circumstances, train accident victims include:

  • Train passengers
  • Motorists
  • Pedestrians

Because injuries stemming from these incidents are often serious, if not catastrophic, seeking medical attention is imperative. To receive compensation for your physical and financial losses, you will have to prove that someone else is negligent. Because large corporations, municipal or federal government entities, operate different types of trains, doing so may be tricky. That makes it even more imperative to seek legal advice from an attorney who is well versed in this aspect of personal injury law. To learn more about your legal options if you or your loved one has been injured in a car, bus or train crash, contact us today.

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