California Train Accidents and Hiring an Attorney for Claims
Trains are one of the most popular modes of public transportation and in a state as populated as California, millions of people rely on CALTRANS and Metrolink commuter trains to get to their destinations. Statistics show that train riders have increased more in the last few years, likely due to high gas prices and road congestion. In 2008, more than 4 million people have ridden on Metrolink that year.
Types of Accidents
Commuter trains are generally reliable vehicles but train accidents can still happen. Types of train accidents include derailment, train collisions, car and train collisions, and even pedestrian and train accidents. These accidents can cause a great deal of damage – the size of trains and the number of passengers they contain can lead to numerous injuries or even deaths.
Train Driver Negligence
In 2008, California experienced its worst train accident in Chatsworth. A head-on collision between a Union Pacific freight train and a Metrolink commuter train killed 25 people and injured 135 others. According to the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), the results of the investigation showed that the cause of the accident was because of the Metrolink’s act of texting, which led the train to run through a red light and crash against the oncoming freight train which had the right of way.
Aside from operator error and negligence, other factors behind train accidents also include improperly maintained tracks and equipment, unmarked railway crossings, fault of the pedestrian or other motorist. The 2005 Glendale train accident was caused by a man who wanted to commit suicide and left his vehicle on the railway, and a number of pedestrian and train accidents were due to the negligence of the pedestrian.
Both Chatsworth and Glendale train accidents led to numerous civil lawsuits being filed by the survivors of the crash as well as the family of the victims who perished. Most of the Glendale claims have already been settled but there are several issues that are involved in the Chatsworth crash.
Timelines for Filing a Claim
Aside from the California Government Claims Act which imposes a 6-month deadline for filing claims for personal injury or wrongful death against government agencies after an train accident, there is an issue on the $200 million settlement cap imposed by the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997 that can affect the claims of the victims.
Always Talk to an Attorney
This is why at this point, hiring a California train accident attorney who knows the applications of these laws is a must if victims want to recover financial compensation for the injuries, expenses, or losses they have suffered because of the accident. A train accident attorney can best protect and serve the interests of the victims in such situations.