Train accidents and collisions can have devastating consequences. Injuries can be serious and, in many cases, fatal. If you or someone you know has been injured in a train accident you should not hesitate to contact an experienced Los Angeles Metrolink accident attorney. Metrolink accident victims may be entitled to recover compensation from negligent train operators the transportation companies.
At Citywide Law Group, our attorneys understand the hardships a train accident victim and their families can face after a crash. We do not want the financial burdens of expensive medical procedures, lost wages, and emotional trauma to make this traumatic situation worse. Our attorneys can help you hold negligent parties responsible while recovering the compensation you need and deserve. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation and to learn about the benefits of filing a personal injury claim for damages.
Train Accidents in California
More vehicles are hitting the road in California as the economy continues to improve. This had lead to a rise in fatal car accidents across the state. Los Angeles is no exception; the city has some of the state’s most dangerous roads. Public transportation can be a great way to avoid the growing congestion and danger of Los Angeles freeways. However, modes of public transportation – specifically regional rail trains – have proven to be dangerous for Los Angeles commuters, as well.
The Los Angeles Metrolink regional rail system is a popular choice for commuters: it ranks 7th in annual ridership amongst regional rails across the country. The Metrolink can also incredibly dangerous: it ranks 3rd in passenger fatalities amongst regional rail systems across the country. Two major Metrolink accidents, the 2005 Glendale collision and the 2008 Chatsworth collision, are responsible for nearly 60% of train passenger deaths in a recent 6-year period.
Common Carrier Duty of Care
The Los Angeles Metrolink regional rail system is what is known as a common carrier. A common carrier is a person or company that transports people (or goods) from one location to another for a free. In California, common carriers must exhibit an extraordinarily high level of care for the people it transports. Failure to exercise this heightened level of care can result in negligence.
A person will generally only be considered negligent if he or she owes a responsibility of care to others and fails to live up to that responsibility. If you carpool to and from work you owe have a duty to your passengers, as well as other drivers on the road, to operate the car safely. If you do not operate the car safely (e.g., speeding, texting while driving) and someone is injured you may be considered negligent.
In California, common carriers must exercise “the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person.” They must not only operate the train safely but must do “everything necessary for that purpose.” This means that common carriers like Metrolink must “do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight” can reasonably do to protect their passengers from harm. When Metrolink and other rail passengers are injured courts have been quick to hold the common carriers accountable for “even the slightest” negligence.
Following the 2008 Metrolink collision in Chatsworth, Metrolink purchased new railcars that were equipped with a special technology to prevent derailments. In 2015, after a major derailment in Oxnard that killed one and injured another 29, Metrolink approved a $1.5 million in repairs to make its trains safer for passengers. These safety measures may indicate that Metrolink is aware of its responsibility to its passengers, regardless of cost.
Causes of Los Angeles Metrolink Train Crashes
Most Metrolink accidents are the result of the railway’s negligence. What, though, are the actual causes of Metrolink train crashes? In 2005, a Metrolink train crash in Glendale occurred because an SUV had been abandoned on the train tracks. In 2008, a Metrolink train crash in Chatsworth occurred because the train engineer was texting while operating the train. In 2015, a Metrolink train derailed in Oxnard because a pickup truck drove across the tracks in front of the moving train. Other causes of train and Metrolink accidents can include:
- Failure to inspect and repair trains;
- Improper maintenance;
- Improper train operator education and training;
- Failure to comply with California state and federal safety regulations;
- Driving while intoxicated (train and passenger vehicle operators);
- Distracted driving (train and passenger vehicle operators); and
- Driving while fatigued (train and passenger vehicle operators).
Metrolink Accident Injuries
Metrolink accidents can cause severe, life-threatening, and even fatal injuries. An experienced Los Angeles Metrolink accident injury attorney can help recover damages for train accident victims (or their families) who have suffered injuries including:
- Lacerations, cuts, and puncture wounds;
- Bruising and swelling;
- Broken bones and fractures;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Fractured vertebrae;
- Loss of limbs;
- Severe burns;
- Paralysis; and
Recovering Damages After a Los Angeles Metrolink Accident
If you suffer an injury because of a Los Angeles Metrolink accident you may be entitled to compensation. At Citywide Law Group, our personal injury attorneys passionately advocate for our clients and their right to recover damages from liable parties. When you hire us to represent you, we will thoroughly investigate your case to determine (1) the cause of the accident, (2) the extent of your injuries, and (3) who can be held accountable. Our investigation into your Los Angeles Metrolink accident may include:
- Reviewing information gathered in state and federal investigations;
- Consulting with train derailment experts, train accident recreationists, engineers, and other experts;
- Finding and interviewing witnesses;
- Analyzing evidence that may indicate fault; and
- Speaking with medical professionals to understand any long-lasting or chronic effects of your injuries.
This investigation will allow us to create a detailed and persuasive argument about why the negligent party should be required to compensate you for the harms you have suffered. Some train accidents can be devastating on a large scale and injure dozens of passengers. When multiple victims are pursuing compensation the ability to recover damages may be limited. A federal law imposes a liability cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded to train accident victims after a crash.
After the 2008 Metrolink crash in Chatsworth, victims had claims that were valued, in total, at more than $260 million. This federal law capped their damages at $200 million. Since then, multiple railway derailments and crashes have led Congress to reconsider the current liability cap. Unfortunately, these discussions appear to have been unsuccessful. A federal cap on liability should not, however, dissuade Metrolink passengers from pursuing damages after an accident. Metrolink and other regional rail systems are responsible for any injuries that are caused by their trains.
Experienced Los Angeles Metrolink Crash Attorneys
Have you been injured in a Los Angeles Metrolink train crash? Have you lost a loved one because of a fatal Metrolink train accident? If you have, then you may be able to recover compensation for your injury or loss. Contacting an experienced Los Angeles Metrolink accident attorney is the best way to learn about your legal options after a crash.
At Citywide Law Group, our attorneys have personally witnessed the injuries and losses that can result from a personal injury accident. We understand the emotional struggles you will face as you fight to recover or grieve the loss of a loved one. We want to help you through this difficult time by offering our legal services on a contingency fee basis. You focus on your physical and emotional recovery while we fight to obtain a settlement or award on your behalf. You do not pay us unless and until we are successful. Contact our Los Angeles office today to schedule your free, no-commitment consultation.