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The History of Train Accidents in Los Angeles & Train Accident Safety Tips

Trains have been proven to be a good method of public transportation in Los Angeles, and a statistically safer mode of travel than automobiles. However, when train accidents do occur, they have the potential to injure and kill a large number of people.

In L.A., we’ve enjoyed a relatively safe history of train accidents. A railroad company first laid tracks in the city in 1873. Since then, we’ve had the odd accident or two involving pedestrians and vehicles.

Below are some of the Top Train Accidents in Los Angeles History:

2015 Ventura County hit and run train accident. In February of 2015, a Metrolink train crashed into a truck on the tracks, and 28 individuals went to the hospital with damages—including spinal injuries, head injuries, and fractures. The intersection is one of the most dangerous for injurious and deadly vehicle-train collisions.

2008 Chatsworth train accident. In September 2008, a Metrolink train transporting 225 passengers crashed into a Union Pacific train carrying freight. Today, the collision is known as the worst train crash in the Los Angeles area. Twenty five people lost their lives that day, and 135 more were injured. The crash took place at an area of track with a tight, 45-degree curve. The head-on collision caused both trains to derail. A later investigation indicated the train driver was texting prior to the accident and failed to stop at a red light. The accident killed the driver.

2005 Glendale train accident. This January 2005 accident is regarded as the second worst accident. A 25-year-old man drove a gasoline-covered SUV onto the tracks crossing Chevy Chase Drive. The man was going to sit in his SUV as the train approached and commit suicide, but he left the vehicle before the train reached it. When the Metrolink train hit the vehicle, it rose up over it and started to buckle. Eleven people died that day, and the man responsible was found guilty of 11 first-degree murder counts.

1956 Los Angeles River train accident. In 1956, a Sante Fe Railway train heading from Los Angeles to San Diego derailed near the river due to speed, rain-slicked rails and the RDC train’s reported inability to stop quickly. The accident killed 30 people and injured 130.

Train-to-train collisions aren’t as common as train-to-vehicle accidents, but they tend to cause more and more serious injuries when they occur. After a train accident, state and federal investigators must carefully comb through the events leading up to and contributing to the accident. Many incidents involve negligent behaviors from the train operators or the train track and stations maintenance crews.

6 tips to stay safe and protect their rights after a train collision, derailment, or other train accident:

  1. Listen to All Instructions. Pay attention to what the train operator provides in person or over the announcement system.
  2. Alert Train Authorities of Potential Hazards. This includes fires or visual malfunctions via intercoms and/or emergency alerts.
  3. Move Away from the Danger. If you can see the hazard, make an effort to move away from the hazard and toward an emergency exit or open window.
  4. Help Others. Consider assisting others in a time of crisis, but only when it’s safe to do so.
  5. Stay off the Tracks. Never walk on the train tracks after disembarking or even before departure. There could be other trains coming or going that could be a potential danger.
  6. Seek Medical Assistance. Always see a medical provider for an evaluation if you were jerked, jolted, thrown, cut, or otherwise potentially injured. Some injuries take time to manifest.

Whether you were in a train or in a motor vehicle, try to keep your statements to authorities as factual and accurate as possible. If you’re unsure about what happened, say so. Talk to a train accident attorney before you provide an insurance adjustor with any formal statement. At Grey Law, we have the experience needed to help train accident victims obtain fair compensation.

Train accidents don’t happen often, but local history shows they can be deadly and injurious. If you suffer an injury in a train-related accident, contact our experienced Los Angeles train accident attorney at Grey Law today.

Fill out the contact form or call the office at 323-857-9500 for a free case evaluation.

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