As an experienced lawyer handling injury cases and wrongful death against railroads including Metro commuter train systems, I know what a big difference the choice of the appropriate court can make. In essence, the rules that would relate to a case can be different depending upon where the accident happened, i.e. was it still within Washington, D.C. as opposed to across the line of the District in the State of Maryland (MD). My understanding of the facts in the Metro train crash disaster is that it did occur within Washington, D.C. which is good because the rules that pertain to people who get hurt in the District of Columbia are in some ways more favorable than the rules that pertain in northern Virginia (VA) or Maryland.
For example, Maryland has caps on how much non-economic damages a person can get regardless of their injury for pain and suffering, anguish, scarring, disfigurement, and future psychological and emotional problems as a result of being in a train wreck. Likewise, Virginia has caps on punitive damages which would be money beyond the compensation to the individual person hurt in the collision to punish the Metro rail administration for recklessly endangering the public in a way that showed a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of commuters, tourists, and passengers. I don’t know yet whether the facts will warrant an award of punitive damages against the people who ran the system, but there are certainly indications that they had been told that this 1000 series train was outdated and did not have all of the safety features that should be used, including things that would make it more crashworthy in the event of a rear-end collision just like what happened in this case.
Accordingly, if you or a loved one was hurt in this catastrophe, you want to hire not just a lawyer who specializes in injury trial work, but someone who knows how to handle cases which may involve different states and properly choosing the best courthouse to file any lawsuit.
About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury lawfirm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.