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Los Angeles is known for its heavy traffic. Many people have turned to other methods of transportation in order to navigate their way out of busy streets, such as rideshare services, shared e-scooter and e-bike services, and buses. Another form of transportation that has contributed immensely to convenient and affordable traveling is Metrolink, a commuter rail system that has seven lines and 62 stations across the state.
Although Metrolink benefits passengers by providing an easier way to travel, it has had its downsides. The most infamous Metrolink accident to date was back in 2008, where a major Metrolink accident resulted in 25 passengers losing their lives. This tragic accident was caused by a Metrolink engineer who was distracted by their cell phone and missed the opportunity to stop at a red “stop” signal. Since then, multiple other train accidents have occurred in the Los Angeles area, which involved drivers and pedestrians who were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Victims of Metrolink or train accidents may likely deal with a complex case as it can be difficult to determine if one or more parties could be at-fault for their injuries and damages. It is ideal for a victim to take a few factors into account, such as:
- Whether any proper maintenance checks were made prior to the train being used;
- Whether the train had a malfunction or a defective part that was the main factor of the accident; or
- Any negligence contributed by the operator.
We highly encourage train accident victims to reach out to our expert personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers. We will assess your case in order to determine what party, or parties, should be held liable for the accident. With our track record of winning over 5,000 personal injury cases and recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.
Please do not hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Rest assured, there are no financial risks involved in our services. You will not be charged with any fees until your case has been settled.
Common Types of Train Accidents in Los Angeles
Certain measures are taken to try and prevent train accidents from occurring, however, that does not make them inevitable, unfortunately. This is because most accidents are sourced from someone’s negligence. These accidents can range from the following:
Train and Vehicle Accidents
Train and vehicle accidents are fairly common in Los Angeles. In May 2021, an unoccupied vehicle was struck by a Metrolink train in Pacoima, Los Angeles. The Metrolink train had 85 passengers on board. Out of these passengers, 10 were injured from the impact. Seven of these injured passengers were taken to the hospital to get treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
In March 2020, another vehicle and train accident occurred, this time in South Los Angeles. The impatient driver had made an attempt at crossing the tracks as an oncoming Metro Blue Line train was approaching at high speeds. The vehicle sustained serious damage, however, the driver only endured minor injuries.
In cases where a vehicle collides with a train, most of the time, the driver of the vehicle will be held accountable for the accident. Warning signs are placed near railroad crossings to notify drivers that they should stop and wait for the oncoming train to pass by. Those who do not obey the warning signs will likely crash into the train and sustain injuries and damages.
A track owner may also be at-fault for a train and vehicle accident. Sections of a train track could be owned by private companies or government entities. Those who have control over a particular section of the track, where a train and vehicle accident has occurred, may be held accountable if it is found that the track had a defective part that contributed to the cause of the accident.
Train and Pedestrian Accidents
Unfortunately, Los Angeles has had multiple cases of train and pedestrian accidents. In December 2021, a pedestrian was killed by a Metro train in Hollywood. According to reports, the pedestrian was found trapped under the train. As of now, no one is aware of whether the pedestrian had fallen or intentionally jumped in front of the train.
Another incident occurred in December 2021, where a pedestrian had made an attempt at jumping onto a Red Line train in Hollywood. The pedestrian managed to get through the window and into the cab of the train. The pedestrian suffered injuries and inflicted harm onto another passenger on board. They were both sent to the hospital with one in critical condition, while the other had non-life-threatening injuries.
In May 2021, a pedestrian was struck by a subway train in Westlake District. Firefighters had found the pedestrian under the train. The pedestrian was rescued, however he was in critical condition. He was sent to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
With all of these train and pedestrian accident cases occurring so frequently, it is no wonder that Los Angeles County was, at one point, declared as the region in California with the most fatal train and pedestrian accidents from 2013 to 2017.
Train-on-train accidents are not so common in Los Angeles, however, a few reports have occurred within the past two decades in California. In November 2000, a commuter train and a freight train crashed into each other in Fullerton. The accident took place at a switching point where one of the trains sideswiped the other. It was reported that at least a dozen passengers suffered injuries from the impact.
Another train-on-train accident occurred in Oakland, California in October 2011. An Amtrak train crashed into a stationary train that had 137 passengers on board. The moving train only had 8 passengers inside. Passengers and crew only endured minor injuries, however, one passenger needed further medical assistance and was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The cause of the train-on-train accident was reportedly from the Amtrak train going through a red light.
Human error has been one of the main factors that has contributed to the cause of a train-on-train accident. Train operators are expected to provide a duty of care to passengers on board. This means that distractions, such as cell phones, should not obstruct the train operator’s objective of delivering a safe trip. Those who breach their duty of care will likely cause an accident, which could result in several personal injury claims being filed against them.
Available Damages in a Train Accident
Victims of a train accident are eligible to file a personal injury claim to acquire compensation for their losses. The victim may be awarded with economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can be readily attached to. It is calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. Examples of economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
If the victim was killed due to the negligence of another party, such as the train operator or manufacturer, a wrongful death claim may be filed by the victim’s heir(s) or estate. Damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death claim include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Medical Bills
- Funeral and Burial Expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Loss of Companionship
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a train accident, an experienced personal injury attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered. We will assess your case to determine what necessary steps are needed to ensure you are given the best possible outcome.
Contact us today by calling (213) 927-3700 or completing our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.
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