Each day pedestrians cross public streets, get in and out of vehicles, get on and off buses. Each day, pedestrians risk significant harm if the MBTA and/or its employees ignore safety hazards. The size and mechanics of the MBTA busses pose grave dangers to those who come in conflict with them. In Massachusetts, we expect the MBTA and its employees not to pose unnecessary dangers to pedestrians.
Last Tuesday, in Revere, Massachusetts, it was reported that an MBTA bus struck 52-year-old Gayle Johnson while she was crossing Broadway near a Revere fire station and dragged her for about one-half mile down the street. Boston.com reports: “Victim in Revere MBTA hit-and-run case called ‘sweet woman’ devoted to her family”.
Even though the MBTA is a semi-public entity, whose liabilities are governed under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, the MBTA still has an obligation to make sure its busses are safe and its drivers are competent to drive busses. Moreover, the bus drivers must not only follow their MBTA’s safety policies intended to protect the safety of the general public but also they must obey the rules of the road intended to protect the safety of the general public.
Preliminary reports indicate that the 56-year-old bus driver showed no signs of impairment. Many questions, therefore, remain unanswered regarding how pedestrian Gayle Johnson was struck and killed by the MBTA bus. If the MBTA or its bus driver chose to endanger the public and Gayle Johnson, the MBTA shall be responsible for satisfying her consequential damages.
In Massachusetts’ wrongful death cases, an at fault Defendant can be held accountable for compensating the victim’s estate for consequential damages including conscious pain and suffering.
In Gayle Johnson’s case an investigation will show whether Gayle Johnson suffered before she died. Like Gayle’s sister, Karen Johnson, questioned after she learned that an MBTA bus dragged Gayle one-half mile, it is relevant to ask “did she feel any pain?’’
Over time, many legal questions will be answered as the facts come to light regarding how the MBTA bus struck, killed and dragged Gayle Johnson resulting in her death.
There are many issues to navigate when pedestrians are involved in collisions, especially collisions involving an MBTA bus reported to hit and run.
To learn more about MBTA and the law click here.