Glendale Train Accident Attorneys
Trains have long been a part of Southern California’s history, from the historic Union Pacific Railroad that brought many families west to the scenic Amtrak routes which connect Los Angeles residents to San Francisco and San Diego. Many of us also rely on the LA Metro Rail to get around the county in our day-to-day lives, including the Antelope Valley and Ventura County Lines that service our local Glendale Station.
However, while these trains are a daily occurrence, that does not mean they are not without their own risks. The high-speed vehicles are essentially designed to go in two directions and need a large amount of time to stop. If there is an obstruction on a track or an error puts two trains on a collision course, it can be extremely difficult to stop them. Because of the strength and force behind train accidents, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers can suffer catastrophic, and often fatal, injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a train accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Aghabegian & Associates, PC today to speak to a Glendale train accident attorney. With over 40 years of experience, our expert legal team is a strong advocate for accident victims in Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley. Whether your injuries were caused by a public train or private freight company, we can evaluate your case and hold the at-fault parties accountable for your injuries. Call us at (818) 507-4311 to discuss your options after a train accident.
The speed, force, and weight of trains make them incredibly dangerous when improperly maintained or struck by other vehicles. Colliding with a passenger vehicle can lead to a derailment, the likely death of the car’s driver, and numerous injuries to passengers. In addition, pedestrians and bicyclists can also suffer serious, if not fatal, trauma at crossings, even if the train is traveling at light speeds. Bottom line, these vehicles must be handled with care and responsibility to avoid a devastating accident.
The various types of train accidents can include:
- Collisions at crossings (pedestrians, bicyclists, other vehicles)
- Collisions with other trains
- Collisions with objects on tracks
- Vehicles colliding with trains
- On-board injuries, such as falls or being struck by objects
Pursuing compensation for a train accident will depend on the nature of the accident and who is liable for your injuries, which may involve multiple different parties.
An accident claim, whether involving a car, truck, or train, comes down to determining whether or not an act of negligence contributed to your injuries and who committed that negligent act. For trains, that can vary between several individuals or groups, from train engineers to station workers to even other vehicle drivers.
Common acts of negligence that contribute to train accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Faulty components or systems, such as brakes and accelerators
- Improper loads that cause the train to become imbalanced
- Improper maintenance of crossings, rails, trains, and stations
- Leaving debris on the track
- Vehicles stopping or speeding through crossings
- Damage crossing guard rails and signals
- Miscommunication between train engineers and stations
- Improper loading of equipment, material, and luggage
Any one of these actions can contribute to serious injuries, either suffered by passengers or individuals in other vehicles. If one of these negligent acts contributed to your injuries, you may be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault party.
Who that at-fault party is will vary, but most claims can be divided into the following categories:
Other vehicle drivers: Vehicle operators are required to stop at all railroad crossings when the signal is on and the guard rail is down, and even large vehicles like buses and trucks are required to make complete stops even when there is no train in the area. If a driver disobeyed the signal and colliding with the train or stopped on the rails, the driver could be found liable for causing a collision or derailment. Based on this, passengers could seek an auto accident claim against the driver’s insurance policy, including a truck driver’s commercial policy.
Passenger train operators: Passenger trains like those operated by Amtrak or LA Metro Rail are considered “common carriers,” meaning they are required by state and federal law to provide the highest standards of safety. This includes making sure the trains are safe for boarding and transporting passengers and taking action to prevent collisions with other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone who can potentially cross a track. If you were injured on board a train, at a train station, or at a crossing, you may be able to file a claim against a negligent train company. This would involve a government tort claim, which is more difficult to receive compensation from than an auto accident or personal injury claim, but still possible with the right legal team.
Freight train companies: While most people only ever contend with freight trains at crossings, major companies like LA Junction, Union Pacific, and BNSF are still very active in the LA County area. These trains transport a wide array of equipment, materials, and products, making them extremely heavy. If one of these railways were involved in a derailment, local homes, drivers, and pedestrians could be injured by lost cargo, which can prove extremely deadly if it involves hazardous material. In addition, a collision at a crossing may be the fault of the train operator and allow a victim to pursue a claim against a freight company. While there are fewer restrictions on bringing a claim against a freight company, it still requires a large amount of evidence and legal knowledge to go up against a major company and their team of lawyers.
As mentioned above, train accidents claims are reliant on who caused the accident. In most cases, your claim may be filed against:
- An auto insurance policy if a negligent driver caused the accident;
- A government agency if your injuries were caused by a negligent government employee or agency; or
- A private company if your injuries were caused by a negligent freight company.
However, there is also a fourth form of compensation that only applies to railway workers. If you work for a railway company, either a private freight company or the LA Metro Rail, you may be able to file a claim under the Federal Employees’ Liability Act (FELA) for damages in addition to any third-party claims, such as an auto accident claim. Railway workers are put at a higher risk for on-the-job injuries due to the nature of their work when compared to other professions, however, because of this act, they are not covered under most standard workers’ compensation policy.
Instead, they are eligible to file claims under FELA, but, unlike most workers’ compensation claims, injured railway workers must demonstrate that their employer was at fault for their injuries. However, even the slightest amount of negligence may make a worker eligible to file for compensation, which has no cap on the amount of damages they can receive, as opposed to workers’ compensation, which as strict caps.
How ever, you were injured, you are likely in a lot of pain, confused about what to do next, and stressed about your future. In the worst-case scenario, you may have lost a family member in a train accident and are having difficulties dealing with the financial fallout. While we cannot change what has occurred, the Glendale personal injury attorneys at Aghabegian & Associates, PC have the expertise and knowledge to help you pursue a claim for damages.
Because of how complicated these cases can be, it is important to contact us as soon as possible. Multiple in-depth investigations will need to be conducted by local, state, and federal investigators to determine the cause of the accident, and you will want to have legal counsel advocating for compensation from at-fault parties. To ensure you receive proper legal advice throughout the claims process, contact us at (818) 507-4311 to discuss your case. Let us fight for your right to compensation from negligent train companies.