TRAIN AND METROLINK ACCIDENTS

Railroad accidents are the worst fears of family members who suspect their loved ones may have been present at the time of the incident. Due to the nature of trains and the lack of avoidance maneuvers in unforeseen circumstances, railroad collisions are extremely deadly. We don’t have to look far to remember the two most recent Metrolink crashes in Los Angeles area in 2005 and 2008 that left many dead and injured. When passenger trains collide with vehicles or worse – freight trains, the devastation left behind is unthinkable and terrifying. Handling train accidents requires expertise of experienced railroad accident attorneys and should not befall on just any injury lawyer.

Train accidents vary in severity and often include:

  • Derailments
  • Collisions with vehicles
  • Collisions with other trains
  • Collisions with pedestrians
  • On-board accidents
  • Mechanical Failures

Why Speak With a Lawyer?

If you or someone you love have been involved in a train accident resulting in injuries or death, contact our attorney to fight for you. Although we can’t bring back your loved ones or heal the emotional damage suffered from a railroad accident, we can help take away the worries of paying medical expenses. Injuries such as brain damage, spinal cord damage, joint and muscle pain, migraines and burn injuries can cost insurmountable amounts of money to rehabilitate if at all possible. Our attorneys will make sure you get the compensation you deserve to put your financial worries behind you.

Our lawyers personally work with you to determine the extent of the injuries both direct and indirect as a result of the accident. After careful consideration of each detail, we will pursue with litigation against negligent parties.

We Can Answer Your Questions

If you have any questions regarding your train injury claims, we can answer them for you. Use our free consultation form or call our attorneys at (213) 891-0777. There are no obligations.

Railroad Accident Put Worker into Coma

Jose A. Salazar is suing three companies that he believes contributed to the negligence which caused his November 8th, 2012 accident. Salazar suffered injuries to his spleen, ribs, and a lung when he was pinned to the ground by a 39-foot section of the track made of steel and weighing almost 2,000 pounds. Although he has survived his injuries, Salazar spent a month in a coma and doctors are unsure what kind of impact the accident will have on Salazar’s long-term brain function.

According to Salazar, the companies named in the suit: TransitAmerica Services, Inc (Salazar’s direct employer at the time), Caltrain (the company that contracted TransitAmerica to work on the track), and Union Pacific Railroad Company (which is a major user of the tracks where the accident occurred), negligently failed to create a safe work environment. Salazar further claims that the crew he was working with failed to use proper machinery which resulted in him being pinned beneath the steel section of the track.

When Companies Are Liable

A company is generally liable for the actions of its employees when those employees are in the performance of their duties. The same can go for contractors if certain conditions exist. In this case, if the crew is found to have been under the direction or employment of any of the companies named in the suit, then Salazar would be justified in bringing suit against the companies that employed or engaged the crew.

Anyone who hires another person, in general, has a duty to ensure the hired person performs safely and in a manner so as not to cause injury to others. There are some exceptions where a company or hiring person would be off the hook if an employee or contractor caused injury to someone else, but these exceptions should only be explained by an experienced personal injury attorney, as they can be difficult to decipher in some cases.

Making the Case

A legal claim under negligence requires proving all elements of negligence. A duty between the parties existed, that a breach of that duty occurred, that the injuries were caused by the breach, and that the victim in fact sustained damages. Showing that each of these elements existed is vital to proving a negligence case, but the elements may not always be easy to spot against a set of real-life facts. An experienced railroad accident attorney in Los Angeles, however, will usually be able to evaluate a claim to determine whether or not a case has enough merit based on the elements in order to move forward, and the victim’s best legal options moving forward might be.

In addition to evaluating a case for merit, an attorney can review the damages sustained by the victim in order to make a determination as to what kind of compensation should be pursued.  Depending on the facts of a case, a victim may be entitled to damages for the actual injury, pain and suffering, medical expenses, therapy expenses, lost earnings, and other damages.

Light Rail Train Accidents

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 systems.

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 crossings 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.