Can You Sue BART for Negligent Security?

Countless commuters ride the BART system each day in the San Francisco Bay area, and the vast majority of these individuals arrive safely at their destinations. However, some are injured while on this public transit system. Slips and falls are common, as are traffic collisions. However, one of the most overlooked sources of injury for BART passengers actually comes from other people. Muggings, robberies, assaults, and other violent crimes are definitely not unheard of among BART passengers. In fact, there have been many violent crimes committed on this public transit system over the past few years.

So what is the government doing to stop this from happening? If you have been assaulted while riding a train, waiting at a station, or sitting on a bus, you may have come to the conclusion that BART’s security is completely inadequate. Many other individuals have been harmed by violent criminals in similar situations, and many of them feel exactly the same way about BART’s failure to protect its commuters. So what can you do to address this situation?

Your first step should be to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney in the San Francisco Bay area. Our legal professionals can assess your unique situation and determine whether or not you should take further legal action. If there is a clear and obvious example of negligent security committed by BART or any other transit system, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the government agency responsible for running the system. If your lawsuit is successful, you can recover compensation for medical expenses and missed wages, as well as non-economic damages like PTSD and psychological trauma.

BART is No Stranger to Crime

Even within the past few years, BART has seen a staggering amount of violent crime. In 2017, a video of a mass robbery on BART went viral. The video clearly depicted a group of about 40 to 60 teens “swarming” a train, completely taking control of its occupants and robbing all of their valuables. Passengers were forced to hand over bags, cell phones, wallets, and other items. Those who refused were beaten, and at least two individuals suffered severe head injuries. These individuals jumped the fare gates, rushed toward one of the trains, and held open the doors while they all surged into one train car.

The worst aspect of this crime was that all of the criminals escaped without any consequences. The teens simply vanished into East Oakland without a trace, leaving police officers scratching their heads. This was not the first time trains had been “held up” by criminals, although it probably received more media attention than any other incident in the past. In response, the authorities announced that they would be “beefing up patrols” on BART to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Rebecca Saltzman, the president of BART’s Board of Directors, said that they were “examining ways to prevent a recurrence.” But as you will see, further crimes of this nature were clearly not prevented over the next few years.

That very year, a 12-year-old boy was held at gunpoint at a station platform. This led to a 2017 lawsuit in which the mother accused BART of gross negligence. In particular, she alleged that the subsequent investigation and probe conducted by BART and the authorities was “lackadaisical.” The mother and her attorney stressed that one of the reasons they filed the lawsuit was to make BART safer for vulnerable commuters.

This 12-year-old boy was walking toward a stairway at the El Cerrito Del Norte Station when a robber pushed a gun into his waist and prodded him into a dark stairwell. At this point, the criminal took the boy’s wallet. The young commuter then searched for some kind of authority figure, hoping to report the crime as quickly as possible. However, there was no one to be found, so he phoned his mother for help instead. Finally, after two hours had passed, the boy and his mother were able to track down a police officer and file an official report. Again, BART representatives stressed that they were taking the matter “very seriously,” but further crimes kept occurring.

In 2020, it was reported that there had been a massive surge in so-called “snatch-and-grabs” on BART. Most thefts were taking place near stations like Balboa Park, Coliseum, 24th Street Mission, and Fruitvale. In San Francisco alone, 512 robberies and thefts were reported on BART throughout 2019. In 2019, 1,180 devices were stolen. By this point, the city was beginning to take this matter more seriously, and the security presence increased.

But it still was not enough to prevent further crimes from taking place. In 2021, a Thai woman was brutally mugged by a criminal who was trying to steal her cell phone. When she refused to hand over the device, she was punched in the face several times and left on the ground, bloody and disoriented. Since it was stolen, she did not have a phone to report the crime, and security personnel were not present to react to the incident. In the end, the only people who came to her aid were two good samaritans who managed to call the police and wait with the injured woman. The victim later complained about having to pay for her own medical expenses while missing work.

Enlist the Help of a San Francisco Negligent Security Attorney Today

If you have been searching the San Francisco Bay Area for an attorney who can help you file a claim for inadequate security, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. Having worked on a vast number of personal injury cases in the Bay Area over the past few years, we have become highly experienced with helping injury victims. We are passionate about taking legal action against entities that fail to protect innocent members of the public, even if these entities are government organizations.

While suing a public transit system like BART certainly comes with its fair share of challenges, you can pursue a positive legal outcome if you move quickly and work with a legal professional who understands the various laws at play. Reach out and book your consultation today.