Though the news tends to primarily focus on accidents involving cars, trucks, and even bicycles, train accidents are also problematic and happen more often than you might think. Train accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and pedestrian lives, which is why it’s important to contact a train accident attorney immediately if you or your loved one has been in a pedestrian train accident.
In March 2022, a Caltrain accident left 13 people injured, including two Caltrain employees. And just recently, there were two Brightline train accidents in Florida, one of which left two people dead. And Amtrak accidents are reported across the country every year.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, over 2,000 train accidents occurred in 2022, resulting in 273 fatalities and 763 injuries. Texas is the top-ranking state for train accidents, but California comes in second place, with 171 train accidents, 43 deaths, and 38 injuries in 2022.
Just recently, an accident in late February involving the A Line Metro Transit train in Los Angeles was reported. The report indicates that three people were injured and two people were killed, but the cause of the accident has not yet been determined.
This is just one example of many that involve the train systems that run across the state of California. And while California train accidents do involve vehicles being struck by trains, they also often involve pedestrians being injured on the tracks as well.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Train Accidents
It’s common to hear about train accidents involving vehicles, such as when a car tries to drive over the tracks when a train is coming, resulting in a collision. But train accidents involving pedestrians getting injured and killed on the tracks are just as common.
Below are some common causes of pedestrian-related train accidents and how these accidents can occur:
- Pedestrians standing too closely to the edge of the platform and accidentally falling onto the tracks
- Pedestrians recklessly choosing to walk across or stand on the tracks
- Pedestrians slipping and falling onto the tracks due to hazards at the train station
- Train derailments injuring nearby pedestrians
- Lack of safety features keeping pedestrians from falling onto the tracks
- Train mechanical failures preventing trains from stopping
Catastrophic Train Accident Injuries
While falling onto the tracks can occasionally result in minor scrapes and bruises—such as if the fall was short or if the person could get back up off the tracks quickly—pedestrian train accidents, more often than not, result in catastrophic injuries.
Trains and train tracks are inherently dangerous, so being involved in a train accident usually results in severe and life-threatening injuries. Some of which can include:
- Traumatic brain and head injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Internal damage
- Crush injuries
- Severed limbs
- Severe lacerations and fractures
Because these injuries can take such a traumatic toll on a person’s life, it is usually necessary to file a claim to recover compensation to help alleviate some of the burdens they might suffer. Filing a claim can help the victim or their loved ones recover compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation services, and even emotional distress, which can make it easier to recover and move on.
However, to file these claims, you often need to have proof that another party was responsible for what happened, which means you will need to work with a train accident attorney who can help you obtain evidence to build a strong case.
Train Accident Liability
When pedestrian train accidents occur, multiple parties could potentially be liable for what happened. So you will need to work with an attorney to ultimately determine who was the negligent party and who can be held liable for the damages you suffered.
Possible liable parties in pedestrian train accident cases can include:
- The injured pedestrian: Of course, if the injured victim was acting irresponsibly, such as intentionally jumping onto the tracks or walking across the tracks, then they will likely be seen as responsible for their injuries. In this case, they will not be able to file a claim against another party to recover compensation.
- Another person: If another person acted with malicious intent, such as by intentionally pushing the victim in front of the train or onto the tracks, then they can be charged with assault and can be held liable for the harm that they caused.
- The rail company: The rail or transportation company that operates the train or the train station can be held liable in some situations. These companies are responsible for maintaining a safe premise that is free of hazards. So if there was a hazard that caused the accident, such as a missing railing, poor lighting, or an obstruction that caused the victim to slip and fall on the tracks, the rail company or the city that manages the transportation services could be held liable.
- Maintenance crews: If a mechanical error causes the accident, the maintenance crew could be held responsible. Mechanical failures can happen even if everything was done to prevent them. But if a maintenance crew made a mistake that could have been avoided, and that mistake led to the train accident, then the crew can be held liable.
How a California Train Accident Attorney Can Help
If you were injured as a pedestrian in a train accident due to another party’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered. However, proving fault, especially in train accident cases, is not easy.
You will need to gather a substantial amount of evidence to prove what happened. The at-fault party and their insurance company may try to argue that you, as the victim, acted recklessly and were, therefore, responsible for your own injuries. But if this is not true, you will need to work with a train accident attorney to build a strong case that supports your claim.
Obtaining evidence in train accident cases is not easy. An experienced attorney, however, will have the skills and resources to contact the necessary parties involved to get the information you need to prove who was ultimately responsible for what happened. This can include obtaining footage from security cameras and getting access to maintenance records or any other records and files pertaining to the upkeep of the station or tracks where the accident occurred.
Once this evidence is collected, your attorney can put everything together to build a strong case in your defense. They can also handle communications with the other parties involved and negotiate to ensure you are awarded the full and fair settlement you deserve for the damages and injuries you have suffered.
Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers: California Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have years of experience handling challenging California pedestrian accident cases, including those involving traumatic and catastrophic train accidents. We are prepared to fight hard for our clients’ rights to ensure they get the high-value settlement they need and deserve to help compensate them for all they have suffered.
For help with your train accident claim, call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.