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Metrolink is a commuter rail system located in Southern California. It operates on seven lines and 62 stations to provide convenient transportation services to the public. Although Metrolink does have its benefits of having accessible transportation services, it has had many cases of accidents in California that have left people in serious or fatal condition. 

The most well-known case dates back to 2008, where a horrific Metrolink accident occurred in Chatsworth, California. It was reported that the train operator was distracted by his cell phone and did not notice the stop signal. This ultimately resulted in the train crashing directly into another train, which resulted in 25 deaths and more than 100 injuries. 

After this tragic incident, Congress passed legislation to require “positive train control” to be implemented into the railroad system. By using GPS signals, onboard computers, and wayside radio towers, positive train control has the ability to monitor all trains in the United States that are moving at nearly 60,000 miles of track. This method was designed to automatically stop a train if the engineer sends a signal or to have the train slow down if it is going too fast. 

Although safety measures have been enforced in railroad systems, train accidents are still likely to occur. Below, we will discuss train accident liability in California and the state’s history of train accidents.

If you or a loved one were a victim of a train accident, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the party at-fault for damages. It can be difficult to determine what party or parties contributed to a train accident. Several elements must be considered before figuring out the amount of negligence committed by each party.

  • Was the train properly inspected before allowing passengers in? 
  • Was there a defective part present within the train that triggered the accident?
  • Did the train operator perform an unlawful action that resulted in the accident?

To get the best results from your train accident case, it is important to seek legal representation from a knowledgeable California train accident attorney. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our train accident attorneys have over 100 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. With over $1.5 billion in settlements recovered on behalf of our clients, we are confident that we will get you the compensation you deserve for your losses.

Please do not hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (888) 341-9802 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.

Determining Liability in a Train Accident in California

Determining liability in a train accident can be difficult as many factors must be taken into consideration in order to prove who should be held responsible for any injuries or damages. Generally, the most common causes of a train accident have been due to human error, poor weather conditions, derailment, or a defect present within the train.

To determine what caused a train accident, it is encouraged for victims to get legal assistance from a California train accident attorney. Your attorney will guide you through the steps of what you should or should not do for such a case. Once you have collected evidence, your attorney will evaluate your findings to uncover how much negligence was committed by all parties involved in the train accident. From there, your attorney will handle the difficult tasks while you take time to recover from any physical or mental injuries sustained by the incident. 

If your attorney successfully settles your train accident case in your favor, you may be granted compensation for your losses. This includes receiving coverage for medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and more. 

Metrolink and Train Accidents in California

Certain measures are taken to prevent train accidents from occurring, however, that does not make them entirely avoidable. This is because most accidents are sourced from risky or dangerous decisions made by a person. These accidents can range from the following:

Train vs Vehicle Accidents

In most cases, a train vs vehicle accident usually stems from human error. Oftentimes, drivers will ignore or miss traffic signs or signals indicating that a train is approaching. This type of accident can result in a catastrophic outcome since the train has significant speed and power when traveling. If a train has direct contact with a vehicle, it can cause serious or fatal injuries primarily to the vehicle occupants. Luckily, there have been cases where vehicle occupants have left the scene of a train vs vehicle accident with little to no injuries. 

List of Recent Train vs Vehicle Accidents in California

  • March 7, 2022: A Metrolink train crashed into a vehicle in Lancaster, California. The driver suffered from injuries, however, all of the passengers on the train were okay. 
  • June 26, 2022: A family traveling in a Honda sedan were struck by an oncoming Amtrak train near Brentwood, California while attempting to pass the tracks at an unprotected railroad crossing. It was reported that three women died, while two  people, including a child, sustained serious injuries. None of the passengers in the Amtrak train were injured. 
  • July 25, 2022: A Metrolink train crashed into a vehicle on the tracks in Newhall, California. The driver of the vehicle suffered an injury and was transported to a hospital to receive further medical attention. No injuries were reported among train passengers.

Train vs Bicycle Accidents

Most train vs bicycle accidents have occurred due to bicyclists deliberately ignoring safety precautions placed near railroad crossings. Severe or fatal injuries are likely to occur, especially since bicyclists have little to no protection against powerful impact by heavy machinery. It is highly encouraged for bicyclists to always be aware of their surroundings when on the road to reduce or prevent the chances of an accident from taking place. 

List of Recent Train vs Bicycle Accidents in California

  • September 20, 2019: A bicyclist was rushed to the hospital with head trauma after getting involved in an accident with a VTA train in San Jose, California.
  • May 11, 2022: A bicyclist was struck by a train in Upland, California. Unfortunately, the bicyclist was announced dead at the scene of the accident. 

Train vs Pedestrian Accidents

Train vs pedestrian accidents are the leading cause of deaths on railways. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), California has the largest number of fatal trespasser strikes from 2012 to 2017, with a total of 250 suicides and 451 non-suicides. The report further goes on to indicate that most suicide strikes would occur during spring, while non-suicide strikes commonly took place during summer. Additionally, suicide strikes would mostly occur during the late evening hours on weekdays and weekends, while non-suicide strikes would happen during evening commute hours or early in the morning. 

List of Recent Train vs Pedestrian Accidents in California

  • December 13, 2021: A man was killed after being hit by a Metro Red Line train in Hollywood, California.  It was unclear whether the man had accidentally fallen or purposely jumped in front of the train. 
  • February 17, 2022: A Metrolink train fatally struck a man in Burbank, California. It was reported that the man had intentionally placed himself across the train tracks as the train was directly headed his way.
  • May 31, 2022: A Metrolink train fatally hit a pedestrian in Van Nuys, California. None of the passengers in the train had sustained any injuries from the accident.
  • June 9, 2022: A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Sprinter train in Vista, California. No reports were released about the cause of the train accident. 

Train vs Train Accidents

Mistakes made by the train operator or railroad company are considered as one of the most common causes of a train vs train accident. A train operator is required to pay attention to any signals sent by the engineer or any foreseeable hazards ahead. If the train operator is unable to react accordingly to potential dangers, they can contribute to the cause of a train accident, including one involving another train. Under vicarious liability, the railroad company can be held accountable for any injuries or damages caused by reckless actions committed by their employees.

Train derailment is another well-known problem that has caused two trains to collide with one another. Derailment may occur based on bad judgments made by the train operator or engineer, poor weather conditions, or by defective parts that may cause the train to become unresponsive to the train operator’s commands. If the train vs train accident occurs due to improper navigation provided by the train operator or engineer, they can be found at-fault for damages. However, if the accident was due to mechanical or electrical failure, the railroad company owner or manufacturer will likely have to face legal repercussions. 

As of recently, California has not had any reports of train vs train accidents. 

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a train accident, our expert California train accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. 

Contact us today by calling (888) 341-9802 or completing our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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