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Fulton County Jury Assesses MARTA Liability in Escalator Case

A lawsuit filed by plaintiffs against MARTA concluded last week with a $1.4 million verdict in Fulton County Superior Court. Two years ago, Patricia Weeks missed a football game because a MARTA escalator abruptly switched directions, causing most of its riders to fall. Now Weeks, after suing MARTA, has been compensated for her injuries.

Last year, MARTA, the public transit system for Atlanta, Georgia, terminated its contract with the company responsible for maintaining station escalators and elevators. Apparently an employee of the company deliberately bypassed a safety system on an escalator at the MARTA station in Dunwoody. MARTA subsequently shut down all of the escalators systems the employee was known to have worked on.

The question in the Weeks case is whether the appropriate preventative maintenance was being done at the time of her fall. Since the maintenance companies were under contract with MARTA, the transit system is responsible for any negligence on the part of the maintenance company. Many similar cases involving serious injuries sustained on escalators and elevators turn on just what preventative maintenance was done on the equipment to protect against this type of accident.

Even though MARTA had contracted the escalator and elevator maintenance out to a third-party contractor, MARTA was still a proper party to the lawsuit (and ultimately found liable to the plaintiff) as the landowner. Under the law, a landowner has a non-delegable duty to keep the premises reasonably safe.

Falls can be dangerous, particularly in a crowded, public setting. Robert Fleming regularly works with premises liability cases, or situations where a client has been injured because a business has not maintained a safe environment. This is especially true in situations involving common carriers such as MARTA, railroad, and trucking companies. Many of these falls result in severe injuries requiring extensive hospital stays and expensive medical bills. Even when the injured party follows all of the doctor’s orders, many of these injuries turn out to be life-altering and permanent. The at-fault party in a premises liability case is responsible for all of the hospital and medical bills, lost wages (both past and in the future), any decrease in the injured party’s ability to work and earn a living, and pain and suffering due to the injury.

Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and you suspect that the injury was caused by a defective or faulty escalator or elevator and would like discuss your case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.


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