D.C. Metro Smoke Tragedy: What You Should Do
January 21, 2015
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D.C. Metro Smoke Incident: What Happened

On the afternoon of Monday, January 12, during rush hour, smoke filled the L’Enfant Plaza metro station in Washington, DC.  The smoke, caused by what the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has described as “an electrical arcing event,” quickly moved into a Virginia-bound Metro train sitting idle on the track. Approximately 200 passengers were trapped on the train and forced to breathe the thick smoke for up to 40 minutes until emergency services reached them.  According to witnesses, passengers began to choke on the smoke, and some lost consciousness.  Tragically, one Metro rider died due to the smoke inhalation and a total of 84 people were hospitalized, some with critical injuries.

The NTSB has commenced an investigation into how the incident occurred.  Senator Mark Warner of Virginia stated that “Metro passengers deserve to know as soon as possible about Metro’s safety protocols for this type of incident, and those answers should be provided right away.”

If you or a loved one suffered injury due to smoke inhalation at a D.C. Metro station or on a Metro train, you may have a legal claim.  Ashcraft & Gerel may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries. We are already representing those who have been affected by this tragedy. In the meantime, there are certain actions you should take right away in order to protect your rights.


D.C. Metro Smoke Incident: What to Do in 4 Steps

  1. Save and retain all evidence you may have related to the incident, such as your Metro ticket, photographs, videos, and any other materials that may later be used to support your lawsuit. If you can, save the clothes you were wearing in a plastic bag and do not wash them.
  2. Seek proper treatment for your injuries, physical or otherwise. It is crucial that your health and recovery are your first priorities. You should tell your treating physician all of your symptoms in order to ensure that you are receiving the best treatment possible.
  3. Do not give a statement to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) if they contact you. Similarly, do not sign any paperwork provided to you by WMATA or others concerning the incident without first consulting an experienced attorney.  By doing so, you could be waiving your right to bring a lawsuit and seek compensation for your injury.
  4. When seeking legal representation, ensure that you choose a law firm that has a record of success in handling severe injury claims against large corporate entities. You will require knowledgeable, aggressive, and resourceful attorneys in order to successfully take on WMATA and their insurance companies.

Protect Your Rights

Ashcraft & Gerel is a national leader in mass accident cases and transportation-related injury claims in the DC metro area. We have decades of expertise handling claims involving smoke inhalation and respiratory injuries due to the negligence of others. Claims against large companies who have injured several people are often hard-fought and require not only savvy attorneys but the nation’s leading experts.

We at Ashcraft & Gerel make a point of working hand in hand with only the best experts in the country to properly represent our clients. In the past our firm has battled against one of the nation’s largest mine operators when dozens of miners were injured and killed at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. Today, our firm represents over 125 injured citizens of West Texas arising out of the fertilizer plant at Adair Grain. Several of these individuals have documented respiratory injuries, not unlike those facing victims of the D.C. Metro incident. From major automobile manufacturers to large government entities, Ashcraft & Gerel is ready, willing and able to provide those affected the very best representation possible.

If you or someone you love was injured in the D.C. Metro incident at L’Enfant Plaza, you may be entitled to compensation. If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us online or call us at (866) 709-0505.