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What to Know About Train Accidents in California

Los Angeles Train Accident Attorneys

Using public transportation can be an affordable, safe, and eco-friendly option to get around California’s popular cities. Amtrak’s light-commuter rail is an easy and convenient option especially as many of us adapt to new routines and get back to work. But train accidents remain one of the most devastating experiences one can face. Simply seeing or hearing about the accident does not compare when you have gone through a life-threatening crash. At Grey Law, our attorney for locomotive accidents in LA is here to help all train victims.

Train Access and Popularity in California

There are more than 100 transit agencies that provide transportation services throughout the state. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation (LACMTA) reports more than 66,000,000 light rail and more than 43,000,000 heavy rail urban passenger trips were completed in 2018 alone. Though it has decreased in previous years, that is still a high number of trips.

Despite concerns surrounding train-related fatalities, traveling by commuter rail is generally safe. Per a report published on Enjuris in 2014, there were 0.43 passenger deaths per 1 billion passenger miles in the U.S. Compared to car accidents, the number of train crash victims was far less than 7.28 deaths per 1 billion miles in cars. In fact, since the induction of Amtrak in 1976, The California Department of Transportation has promoted the reliability of rail service. With train routes reaching more than 150 locations, and thousands of commuters in California, that is one of many reasons why you should retain a lawyer for transit ridership accidents in Los Angeles after getting injured in an accident. Outside of Amtrack locals also rely on the following train agencies available in their county or city:

  • BART
  • Muni
  • Metrolink
  • VTA
  • Altamont Commuter Express
  • Sacramento Regional Transit
  • NCTD
  • LA Metro

Common Carrier

With such a high influx of tourists and the number of residents in the Greater Los Angeles area, it is no surprise that there are common carrier accidents each year. A common carrier is a company or person that transports goods or passengers on a schedule and at a set rate. Because railways are one of the main transportation providers, metro companies have a duty of care to make sure passengers reach their destination safely. When they fail to do so, an injury attorney in LA will hold them liable when passengers get hurt.

Federal Regulations Impact Personal Injury Cases

If you were injured as a passenger or employee in a train accident, several factors can determine the railroad company’s liability outside of their duty of care. As a government entity, the metro company has a responsibility to make sure the tracks are maintained, conductors abiding policies, and engineers assess thoroughly before use.

For example, federal laws mandate how long train operators and engineers can work to ensure personnel gets ample sleep between shifts. Operating a train is a demanding profession – but train driving while fatigued is considered a form of negligence. When an operator does not follow the rules and regulations for shift hours, they put passengers’ lives at risk. Additionally, employees share responsibility if they are aware but choose not to report this safety violation. Other parties that may contribute to the accident are:

Train operators: Train operators are responsible for making sure rail cars, equipment and all aspects of the train are working properly. Just as the company is obligated to instruct and supervise employees.

Track owner: The railroad tracks are owned by different companies and government bodies. Depending on where and how you were injured in an accident determining liability can be a complex process. We highly recommend you retain a Los Angeles railroad accident lawyer if you need to take legal action against the government if there were deficiencies on the track. With strict procedural rules and less than six months to submit a written claim, you must be well-versed in state and federal laws for a successful case.

Car drivers, Bus Drivers, Pedestrians: If the train collided with a bus, or car the driver can be held liable. Depending on the circumstances, trespassing pedestrians may also share liability for trespassing and walking along or crossing train tracks.

Manufacturers: Equipment plays an integral role in how trains function. The manufacturer of a faulty part is liable when it fails. The following can be impacted:

  • Engine
  • Signals
  • Tracks
  • Overall train operations

Causes of Train Accidents in California

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is responsible for all train accident investigations. Additionally, they track the following data reported by railroad companies ranging from crossing accidents to the number of casualties. The most common causes behind a fatal crash are:

  • Track failure
  • Human error
  • Malfunctioning signals
  • Obstacles on the tracks

Train Accident Example

For a better understanding of how vital functioning signals are, we share an example of a tragic accident that took place near Chatsworth, California in 2008. It had been widely recognized in the U.S. since it happened. A freight train collided head-on with a Metrolink train in Los Angeles resulting in 25 deaths and 135 injuries.

The Metrolink operator ran through a red signal and proceeded on the track where the freight train had been granted “the right of way”. Dispatchers did not foresee this happening and were unable to prevent the crash as the engineer had been texting while operating.

Set Up A Free Consultation with a Metro Accident Law Firm

When you can, always take preventative measures to avoid getting struck by a train. Similarly, as a passenger or employee, remain vigilant to the warning signs. The best thing to do when you get into a train accident is to retain a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles to handle insurance companies while you recover physically and emotionally.

When you or a loved one are injured due to negligence, carelessness, or wrongful acts of another person, David Grey is ready to help. Seeking compensation or negotiating with insurance companies can be stressful, especially while recovering. Let us do that for you. Our lawyers are well-versed in several practice areas:

  • Traffic Accidents
  • Premises Accidents
  • Personal Injuries
  • Product Liability
  • Nursing Home Abuse

Why do you need a lawyer for accident compensation? With thousands of lawyers in California, we understand it can be difficult to choose the right legal representation. We have 35+ years of experience and secured millions for our clients. From the time you retain our firm, we build your case. For a free case evaluation and consultation, reach out to us at (323) 857-9500 or email

Contact a Train Accident Lawyer Los Angeles

If you have been involved in a train accident, you should never wait to contact a personal injury lawyer Los Angeles. The longer you wait, the more of a risk that you run in preserving evidence. It is important that you get in contact with an attorney as quickly as possible, so that your lawyer can work on your case and get you the justice and compensation you deserve. We will work diligently to identify all the parties responsible for your injuries.

We will handle everything from finding the responsible parties, preserving evidence, talking to witnesses, hiring reconstruction experts, negotiating with insurance adjusters and train companies, and so much more.

Let us help you from start to finish. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay a thing unless we win!

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