On Wednesday December 28, 2011 there was a terrible car accident involving a WMATA Metrobus driven by Lenitta Bryant, a resident of Silver Spring. The driver of the pickup truck--Nkonou Ayaovi Edorh-a resident of Silver Spring, MD was tragically killed in the crash. The Washington Post reported that an accident reconstruction crew was t the scene and portions or Rockville Pike were closed until about midnight. Numerous passengers on the Metro Bus were injured and taken to the hospital.
Anytime a bus is involved in an accident, it is important to determine whether the bus or WMATA was at fault. In this case, apparently the pickup truck crossed the median and struck the bus causing the bus to run off of the roadway. At first glance, it seems that the pick-up driver was at fault for this incident. If that is the case, and the pick-up driver is the only at fault responsible party, then many of those injured will likely not be compensated for their injuries if they do not have uninsured motorist coverage (and the fact that they were bus passengers makes it likely they do not own cars and may not have UM or UIM coverage). You see, the pickup truck likely has limited insurance coverage of $100,000 or less (it could possibly be more). This amount is likely all that would be available to those injured and/or killed in the crash. That is why it is very important that an expert in car accidents determine whether WMATA and/or the Metro Bus Operator was at fault for this crash. Unfortunately, WMATA Metro Busses do not carry PIP and/or Medpay and/or Uninsured Motorist Coverage for its passengers. If the passengers have private auto policies that they are covered under, they can likely make PIP/UM claims on those policies. It is important ot know that uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage applies not just to the owner of the an insured vehicle, but also typically it applies to all household relatives. The lawyers at Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester are experienced at investigating serious bus accidents and can help families of those injured or killed in any bus accident determine if there may be pip or medpay coverage available.
If it is shown that WMATA and/or the bus operator was even 1% at fault then under Maryland law WMATA would be jointly and severally liable for all the damages to the passengers on the bus. Thus if any of the metro bus passengers in the crash have serious injuries it will be very important to determine what, if anything, the bus operator could have done to avoid the collision. Perhaps the bus operator could have avoided driving the bus off of the roadway. Our law firm has litigated many cases against WMATA and I can tell you that they fight hard and don't pay settlements unless is is established that they are at fault. I am sure WMATA has its own crash investigators at the scene. These internal crash investigators and accident reconstructionists can be biased in favor of WMATA. Therefore, it is important that anyone who has serious injuries from this crash hire a good personal injury law firm to help determine whether WMATA has any responsibility for this crash. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and charge a fee only if there is a successful recovery in the case.
In conclusion, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those injured and/or killed in the crash.