Railroad Accident Put Worker into Coma

Train RailsJose 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 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 what 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.

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