How often is Metro involved in a bus or light rail crash?
The true answer is nobody knows except for Metro record keepers, and they aren’t telling anybody. Metro uses a deceptive metric to present its safety profile, creating two separate categories for the accidents its drivers are involved in. An “accident” is any wreck that causes a fatality, injuries that require hospitalization, or at least $1,000 in property damage. An “incident” is any wreck that does not involve one of these three specifications.
Many may be surprised to learn that a large portion of Metro’s drivers are not actually employed by Metro, but by a transportation contractor called First Transit. First Transit’s drivers are usually not as well-trained and are involved in most of the serious Metro accidents. However, these accidents are not recorded by Metro, and First Transit does not make its safety record public.
Together, these two factors make it impossible to know just how deficient Metro is in terms of safety, but investigators have found that Metro drivers are involved in many more wrecks than its deceptive press releases suggest.
What kinds of injuries can result from a bus or rail crash?
Metro drivers have regularly been observed speeding into turns and ignoring the right of way, resulting in struck pedestrians and vehicles. When a pedestrian is hit by a 40 ton passenger vehicle, the damage is almost always serious and sometimes fatal. These injuries may involve extensive fractures, lacerations, traumatic brain and spine injuries, hemorrhaging and permanent nerve damage. Victims who survive will likely face a permanent reduction in quality of life because they are less mobile or have to contend with chronic pain.
Serious and fatal injuries can also result from Metro’s Light Rail, which is still involved in the occasional wreck, including one in May that sent a person to the hospital unconscious. Metro passenger vehicles are also regularly handled by drivers with poor training or none at all, making them a huge liability when navigating around other vehicles. This naturally results in serious wrecks and injuries.
How does Metro handle bus and light rail crash injury claims?
Perhaps worse than its safety record is how Metro deals with victims it has killed or hurt. Metro is protected by the Texas Tort Claims Act, which greatly reduces its financial liability in the event of a wreck. Metro uses this protection to its full power and regularly lowballs its victims until they take a reduced settlement. Following an accident with a Metro bus in 1999, a victim reportedly was aggressively accosted by Metro claims officials to sign a non-liability waiver while she lay injured in the hospital.
Metro’s internal memos, which were revealed to the public in 2003, were filled with discussion regarding how to best avoid liability and pay victims as little as possible.
What should you do after being involved in a Metro bus or light rail crash?
Metro employs a dedicated legal team and aggressive claims department, placing a victim under intense pressure to settle for less. An experienced and firm attorney can be useful in countering this legal power, so if you are hurt in a wreck, consider talking with an attorney about your case and how to fight back against Metro.