Light rail trains exist throughout the country as commuter alternatives to car transportation and other forms of public transportation. Because they exist on tracks, light rail systems can usually bypass rush hour congestion and keep travelers on time more frequently than most municipal bus system. Unlike other train systems, light rail systems are usually only intended for passenger travel, not heavy transport. However, just because they’re “light”, light rail trains can still pose a serious risk of injury or death to those who find themselves on the wrong track at the wrong time.
Light rail trains typically run within the city limits which often leaves them exposed to auto commuter traffic. Just last year, a blue line Metrolink train left 48 injured when it came in contact with a bus in Downtown Los Angeles. Prior to that, concerns were voiced over the new expo line and confusion of right of way at some of the intersections. Street crossing have long been common places where light rail train accidents happen.
Woman Injured in San Francisco Light Rail Collision
Emergency response officials have reported that a woman was struck and severely injured by a light rail vehicle on the afternoon of February 28, 2013, in San Francisco, CA. Police and fire personnel responded to a report of a woman hit by a train to find the victim, a female in her 20s, near the tracks. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital with life threatening injuries, and no further information on the victim’s chances of survival have been released.
When Light Rail Train Operators Are Liable
Most light rail operations, if not all in the country, are in some way automated with the help of computer technology. The mere fact that some light rails are automated, however, does not mean that the risk of accidental injury completely disappears. In the case described above, the driver of the light rail in question has been put on “non-driving status”, which is a routine response following an accident on the tracks. It is too early to tell whether or not the injuries sustained by the victim were the result of recklessness or negligence on the part of track employees / operators, but the matter remains open for investigation.
When the negligence or recklessness of light rail train service providers results in an injury, the injured victim may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. If the injuries sustained are fatal, then it is the victim’s surviving family members who may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible.
What Can Victims / Survivors Expect?
Following an injury caused by a third party, an injury victim may be entitled to certain monetary damages. For example, pain and suffering and medical expenses are two of the most common damages to be awarded to accident victims who can prove their injuries were in fact the fault of another. Surviving family members of accident victims also have the right to sue for the loss of companionship (called “loss of consortium” in the law) and for certain lost wages if the deceased loved one was a breadwinner. The law does not require that surviving family members are present at the scene of an accident in order to receive wrongful death related damages.
Compensation in Light Rail Accidents
The law allows light rail accident victims and their surviving family members (when the accident results in death) to seek compensation from anyone and everyone who may have had a part in creating an unsafe condition. Companies, employees, manufacturers, maintainers, suppliers, etc. can all be found liable for creating an unsafe condition that results in another person’s injury or death.