The woman who died in a light rail crash in downtown Baltimore on August 20, 2020, has been identified. 

The woman killed in the crash was identified as Ashley King. A news report claimed that Ms. King assisted in managing several recovery houses throughout the city and worked with women who faced addiction issues.

Neighbors in Washington Village fondly remember Ms. King. One neighbor recalled that Ms. King was one of the best neighbors he ever had. The neighbor said that the family was very nice, and Ms. King always shared a kind word with neighbors. 

Car Collided With an MTA Maryland Light Rail Train

According to reports, the accident occurred at about 7:30 a.m. Two light rail trains were traveling in opposite directions. A vehicle traveling eastbound on Mulberry Street collided with the light rail trains.

The vehicle, a gray sedan, was wedged between the two trains. Ms. King, a 30-year-old man, and a seven-year-old child were trapped in the car.

The fire department responded to the accident. Firefighters, with the help of police officers, worked to extract the victims from the car. Firefighters had to bring additional equipment to the accident scene to remove the car from between the two trains.

The man and child were taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Ms. King died at the accident scene. The operator of the light rail train traveling southbound was also transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. 

The cause of the accident was unknown at the time of the report. The crash caused delays in light rail service, but shuttle bus services were available from North Avenue to Camden Yards.

Collisions With Light Rail Trains

Nationwide, a majority of the collisions involving light rail trains involve an automobile. Train-to-person collisions occur less often than train-to-automobile collisions but are more deadly.

The Maryland Department of Transportation offers several safety tips for drivers to avoid crashes with light rail trains. Light rail train safety tips include:

  • Never trespass on light rail tracks
  • Do not cross light rail tracks except at designated crossings
  • When crossing light rail tracks, always look both ways for an approaching train
  • When you see a red traffic signal or a train approaching, do not drive across the tracks
  • Remain alert when driving
  • Always obey all warning devices, including crossing gates, flashing lights, and signals

Attempting to cross light rail tracks when the crossing gates are down or the warning lights are flashing can be deadly. It can be difficult to judge the distance or speed of an approaching light rail train. Trying to “beat the train” can result in a deadly car accident. 

Who is Responsible for Car Accidents Involving Light Rail Trains?

In many cases, the driver of the car is responsible for the accident because the vehicle is crossing the tracks against the lights. However, the government could be liable for a car accident involving a light rail train in some cases.

For example, if a vehicle becomes stuck on the tracks because the tracks are malfunctioning or broken, the government could be liable for damages caused by the accident. If the warning lights or the crossing gate malfunctions, the government could also be held liable for the car accident. 

A thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the car accident must be completed. The investigation should indicate the factors that contributed to the cause of the accident and the parties responsible for each of those factors.

Filing Personal Injury Claims Against Government Entities

In most cases, government entities have sovereign immunity from claims by accident victims. Sovereign immunity means that you cannot sue a government entity for damages caused by an accident without the consent of the government entity. 

The Maryland Tort Claims Act and the Local Government Tort Claims Act include exceptions to sovereign immunity. If an employee or government vehicle is involved in a car accident, you might be able to sue the appropriate government entity for damages. However, the rules for suing the government are different from the rules for suing a public company or individual.

For example, most personal injury claims in Maryland have a three-year deadline for filing a lawsuit. You must file your car accident lawsuit within three years from the date of the car crash. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

However, when a government entity is involved in a car accident claim, the deadline for filing a claim is much shorter. 

You must file a notice of claim with the correct local government entity within one year from the car accident or lose your right to file a lawsuit. If you are suing the State of Maryland, the notice of claim deadline is just six months from the date of the car accident. There may also be different rules if the claim involves a federal agency or employee.

If an accident involves a government vehicle or employee, the best way to protect your rights is to talk with a personal injury lawyer immediately. Because the notice requirements are different depending on the government entity involved in the claim, you may have just months to file a notice of claim to protect your legal rights.