A 30-year-old man who lost both legs after falling onto Gold Line tracks is suing Metro, saying he was lying unconscious on the tracks for nearly 11 minutes before being hit by a train.
Patrick Chammas’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges that train operator John Delao should have seen him and stopped the train. The suit filed Friday alleges negligence and dangerous condition of public property.
A Metro spokesman said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
Chammas was at the Metro Gold Line Soto Station about 9:45 p.m. May 26 when he fell off the platform and onto the westbound train tracks, hit his head and lost consciousness, the suit states.
“LA Metro has a duty to protect its patrons, passengers and the public at large,” said Chammas’ lawyer, Matthew McNicholas. “It is unacceptable that a passenger fell onto the tracks and laid there unconscious for almost 11 minutes and (yet) none of the station’s employees were aware or took any action to help the passenger or prevent him from then being hit by an oncoming train.”
The accident “was a direct result of LA Metro’s gross negligence,” McNicholas said.
In addition to his leg amputations, Chammas suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple abrasions to his back, the suit states.
There were no curves on the tracks for a significant distance leading up to where Chammas was unconscious, allowing enough time for Delao to see Chammas, the suit alleges.
Metro failed to ensure that there was adequate lighting to see hazards on the tracks or put a system in place to identify and warn rail cars of a hazard or human incursion onto the tracks, according to the lawsuit.
Delao neglected to keep a proper lookout for persons, vehicles or obstacles on the tracks, the suit states. He also failed to control the speed and movement of the metro rail car he was operating and did not stop or slow down prior to running over Chammas, according to the suit.