Have you been injured in an accident involving Metrolink? You may have the right to seek compensation. Contact Madison Law Group to see how we can help you with a free consultation.
In the United States, trains play a crucial role in the economy by transporting people, cargo and goods across the country. Depending on where you live, trains may be a common sight in your city. In California, public transportation, including trains, plays a key role in daily life. Travelers commuting between the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino are connected by the Metrolink system, which is one of the busiest regional rail networks in the country.
Utilizing public transportation is a great way to avoid the stressful and clogged freeways that crisscross throughout the greater Long Beach area. In fact, the Los Angeles Metrolink regional rail system is extremely popular and ranks 7th in ridership nationwide, but the statistics show that the Metrolink can also be dangerous.
As of 2016, more than 100 million people used the Metrolink rail system. While this is impressive, it is overshadowed by the fact that the Metrolink has the third-highest reported passenger fatality rate in the nation.
Train accidents can cause significant damage and present a substantial risk to passengers, nearby drivers and pedestrians as well. Nearly 6,000 train-vehicle collisions occur in the United States each year, according to data from the Department of Transportation. Nearly 600 people die in these accidents each year, and more than 23,000 people suffer injuries.
Personal injuries are common in railroad and train accidents in the state of California. Train spills, collisions, and crashes can result in injuries and significant property damage to those involved. It is not surprising that these types of public transit vehicles can cause such substantial injuries in the event of a crash, given their weight and excessive speed.
If you get injured in a Metrolink accident, you will need a skilled Long Beach train accident lawyer to make sure your right to compensation is protected. We want to help you move on when you’re the victim of a Metrolink accident in the Long Beach area. Reading on, you can learn more about these types of accidents in order to make sure your rights are secured and that you are not taken advantage of when you seek a rightful claim for compensation.
Types of Train Accident Cases Handled by Our Lawyers
Injuries sustained in a train or Metrolink accident can happen in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. In most cases, these accidents are preventable and usually due to the negligence of one or more parties. The experienced train accident lawyers from our firm will fight for your complete financial recovery if you have been a victim of this situation. Here are some of the types of train accident cases we have handled:
When the train veers off the track, it is known as a derailment. Derailment can be brought on by a number of factors, including conductor error, subpar track or train maintenance, careless engineering, faulty rails, and more. A serious accident is likely if a derailment occurs when the train is traveling at top speed.
When the train platforms are slick, wet, neglected, or otherwise maintained in a negligent manner, passengers boarding or exiting the train are at risk of tripping, falling, and suffering catastrophic injuries. Slipping, tripping, and falling onto the tracks are likely to result in serious or even fatal injuries.
Although train-on-train collisions are rare, when they do occur, the consequences are beyond disastrous. Only when something seriously goes wrong with the way the trains are operated do collisions between two different trains occur.
When a passenger vehicle collides with a train car, it can be devastating. This could happen as a result of a train derailing, a train malfunctioning, or carelessness on the part of the automobile driver. A collision between a train and an automobile could cause serious injuries or perhaps cause the train to derail.
Train Car Injury
Train cars need to be kept secure for safe passenger use. The train operator may be held accountable when passengers suffer injuries as a result of slipping on slick surfaces, broken railings and handlebars, or malfunctioning train doors.
There will almost certainly be a fatality if a train hits a pedestrian. The appropriate parties must be held accountable when this happens, regardless of whether that accident was brought on by a defect in the train or track or by human negligence.
A skilled Metrolink accident lawyer in Long Beach can help injured parties and their families with the many different types of train accidents.
What Causes Most MetroLink and Train Accidents in Long Beach?
Each year, there is a high number of Metrolink accidents reported in the greater Long Beach area. The unfortunate reality is that almost all of these accidents are completely preventable and caused by general negligence.
The following factors can cause a train or Metrolink train car to derail, crash, or malfunction:
- Tired and worn-out train operators
- Negligent behavior on the part of the operator
- Improperly trained operators
- Excessive speeds
- Improper track, signal, or train maintenance
- Accidents involving other trains
- Disregard for established safety guidelines
- Train derailment
- Intoxicated train operators
- Faulty train components
Several regulations recently adopted by Metrolink are intended to protect both nearby drivers and train passengers from being injured in tragic accidents, but accidents still happen. You should speak with a knowledgeable train accident lawyer that has represented Metrolink accident victims in the past to make sure you get the best legal defense possible.
How Common Are Train Accidents?
Every year, tens of thousands of train accidents are reported across the country. Non-passenger trains that transport cargo, raw materials, and hazardous items over state boundaries are sometimes involved. Many accidents however do involve passenger trains and result in hundreds of injuries and fatalities each year.
These are some relevant statistics concerning train accidents:
- In 2022, there were 2,178 train accidents reported in the United States, according to the Federal Train Association (FTA).
- A total of 763 people were hurt in these train accidents, and 273 more people lost their lives
- In the United States, a train collides with another object or derails once every hour and a half.
- According to data from the Bureau of Transportation, there were 1,848 train accidents reported nationwide in 2019.
- 1,283 of these accidents were train derailments, and 115 were crashes.
- Nearly 1,000 people are killed in railway accidents each year in the United States.
- More than half of all train collisions occur at exposed railroad crossings.
- 80% of train crossings have insufficient warning devices, such as lights and gates.
- A train carrying dangerous materials derails every two weeks somewhere across the country.
- On Californian train lines in 2016, there were 232 fatalities and injuries
- This number increased to 247 in 2017 and to 248 in 2018.
- Only Texas trails behind California in terms of train accidents
- There were a total of 171 collisions reported statewide in 2022, and these train accidents resulted in 43 fatalities and 38 injuries.
Common Injuries in Metrolink Accidents
Metrolink accidents can result in serious, sometimes paralyzing injuries as well as fatalities. An accomplished Long Beach train accident lawyer can assist those hurt in train accidents (or their families) in obtaining damages for their injuries. Common injuries resulting from a Metrolink accident include:
- Bruising and swelling
- Broken bones and fractures
- Laceration, cut, and puncture wounds
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken vertebrae
- Limb amputation
- Severe burns
What Do I Do After a Long Beach Metrolink Accident?
The most crucial action following a train accident or derailment injury is obtaining immediate medical care to make sure that your health and well-being are taken care of. This will guarantee that your health is prioritized following a serious accident. However, getting medical attention and having a competent doctor examine you can also be crucial evidence that will support your claim for damages in court and help you get the most money possible for your injuries if you choose to pursue a claim for damages.
Following a derailment or train accident injury, some other important steps to take include:
- Take pictures or videos of your injuries.
- Take pictures or videos of the scene of the accident if possible.
- Collect statements from witnesses from video or hand-written notes.
- Do not make any public comments without first consulting a qualified attorney.
- Do not accept a settlement or sign any legal documents without your train accident lawyer present.
- Contact a qualified attorney so they can start handling your case.
How Can Attorney Representation Help in Filing a Train Accident Lawsuit?
There are many reasons you should enlist the help of a qualified attorney if you have been injured in a serious accident. You will be dealing with your train accident injuries, rising medical bills, and likely be unable to return to work for some time. This compounded stress can leave you overwhelmed and feeling concerned about your future. Hiring an attorney can help you get the compensation you need to pay for everything you’ve lost, including lost wages and medical expenses.
You do not have to go through this situation alone if you’ve been injured in a serious accident. With the help of your train accident lawyer, you will be able to just let the legal stuff go and focus on improving your physical and mental health. Your attorney will be there to handle the complicated claims process and take over negotiations with the insurance company.
Our Long Beach personal injury lawyers will make use of our vast array of tools and resources to ascertain what caused the collision, including obtaining the driver’s records and bus interior videotape recordings. In order to pinpoint the precise sequence of events leading up to the accident, an accident reconstructionist may be called upon during the process. A Long Beach personal injury attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf and have it served on the at-fault party once the accident’s cause and your lack of fault for your injuries have been established.
Your lawyer can help with the following aspects of your case:
- Review the findings of any local state or federal investigations into your accident
- Conduct a thorough investigation into exactly what happened
- Examine the black box data, videos, accident reports, maintenance logs, inspection logs, witness statements, medical records, property damage, and physical evidence at the scene
- Consult with train accident and injury specialists
- Handle any allegations of shared liability
- Use tried-and-true negotiation strategies to obtain a favorable settlement amount
- Reject any unfair settlement offers and go to trial if a settlement is not reached
We will not hesitate to go to trial if necessary to obtain the best results for your injuries sustained in a MetroLink train accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Long Beach Metrolink Accident
If you were hurt in a rail or Metrolink accident in Long Beach, you have the right to recover compensation for any damages that resulted from your accident.
California victims of Metrolink accidents are allowed by law to seek restitution from those at fault for the incident. Train and Metrolink operators are held to a greater standard of care when it comes to their obligations and duty of care to passengers. Such operations are labeled as “common carriers.” This is due to the fact that these operators are responsible for the safety of so many people who use their systems day in and day out. Train operators are required to behave and carry out their duties with the utmost care and effort. In addition to train operators, the entire train system’s production, maintenance, design, and operation are all subject to this higher standard of care.
Despite the possibility of damage caps in train accidents, you still have the legal right to make a personal injury claim and the right to fair compensation. These cases have complicated litigation, so in order to obtain full compensation for your damages, an experienced Long Beach personal injury lawyer representing you is necessary.
How Long Will I Have To File a MetroLink Train Accident Lawsuit in California?
After a train accident in Long Beach, you will only have two years to file a claim for compensation. This is the case whether you sustained a bodily injury and intend to file a personal injury claim, or a family member lost their life in the accident and you intend to file a wrongful death claim. If you need to submit a claim against a government agency, then the deadline will be much shorter. This is sometimes the case in claims involving government controlled systems such as Metrolink, so it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after the incident occurs.
The statute of limitations starts on the date of your accident, the date an injury is reasonably discovered, or the date of the victim’s death, whichever comes later.
The statute of limitations can be different under certain conditions. For instance, if parents or guardians choose not to seek compensation on their behalf, children may have until soon after they become of legal age to file a claim.
It is advisable to always confirm the correct statute of limitations for your lawsuit with an attorney, as these laws can be complicated and come with unique rules governing them.
Establishing Liability after a Metrolink Accident
For any personal injury claim to be successful, establishing liability is essential. However, assigning fault for a train or Metrolink accident can be difficult. There are many potential people or parties who may be involved, and all liable parties must be included in order to make sure that the injured person gets compensated as much as possible.
The nature of the accident will determine who is liable for the incident:
- If the injury took place on the platform, then the organization or entity responsible for maintaining the platform could be found liable.
- The organization that maintained that section of track or manufactured that train component may be liable if the accident was brought on by a defective train track or train component.
- The business that runs the railroad may be held accountable for any resulting injuries if the accident was brought on by conductor error, inadequate train maintenance, or some other aspect of the train’s operation.
- If a train derailed due to the actions of a negligent vehicle operator, then the driver could be found liable for any resulting injuries.
There are a number of things you must prove in order to hold another party accountable for your injuries if you are thinking about pursuing a Metrolink accident case:
You must demonstrate that Metrolink or a Metrolink employee’s negligence was what led to the accident, or that some other negligent act like the manufacturing of a defective part caused the accident. Extensive investigations must be performed in order to gather all the necessary evidence to show that this was the case. For example, you may need to demonstrate that Metrolink did not adequately train its staff or examine its trains, and this contributed to your accident.
You will need to provide evidence that Metrolink’s negligence led to your injuries. A highly qualified attorney is needed to gather all the necessary evidence because the opposing counsel can attempt to claim that other factors contributed to your injuries. They may do this in an effort to minimize how much they have to pay.
There must be damages incurred as a result of your accident in order to be paid for the incident. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, future lost income, and future medical treatment costs in a Metrolink accident claim as long as you can provide documentation of the costs.
Duty of Care
You must prove, as in any accident case, that the negligent party owed a duty to prevent the accident but failed to fulfill it. This is relatively easy to do in a Metrolink case since these entities are already held to a higher standard of care as providers of public transportation.
Who Can You Sue After Being Injured in a Train Accident?
The cause and circumstances of your train accident will be revealed through a thorough and in-depth investigation. Liability will be more obvious once the cause of the crash has been determined, and then you can seek restitution from the party or parties responsible.
You need a knowledgeable Long Beach Metrolink accident attorney who is familiar with how the Metrolink system operates. Accidents involving public transit can include many more parties than a typical accident, which makes them much more complicated. Although it might seem like the incident just involved the Metrolink driver and their customers, there is often more going on than meets the eye in these types of cases.
The train company itself, the organization that provides insurance for it, the mechanics hired to ensure that the vehicles are in excellent condition, the company that makes bus parts, and potentially another driver who struck the Metrolink bus are all parties involved. To determine who is accountable for your injuries, you need skilled Long Beach train accident attorneys on your side.
Depending on the specifics of your train accident, the following parties may be held accountable:
Rail Track Owner
The business or even United States government agency that owns or manages a segment of railroad track has a duty to keep those segments of track in a safe condition. If a railroad track owner fails to maintain the train tracks in a safe condition, they may be held liable for any injuries suffered by train passengers, railroad employees, or bystanders if the hazardous tracks contribute to an accident.
Train Owner or Operator
In order to safeguard the safety of their employees and the general public, train companies are required to properly maintain the condition of their trains, train equipment, and train stations. These organizations must make sure that their workers are performing their tasks safely, and these entities are also required to provide adequate training and oversight to their staff. Train owners or negligent train operators may be held liable for accidents that result from negligence in maintaining their everyday operations in a safe manner.
Trains are not always at fault for Metrolink or train accidents. Sometimes, the reckless actions of another motorist might result in a train-vehicle collision, rendering the driver of the car or truck potentially responsible for the accident.
Manufacturer of the Train or Equipment
California has strict laws governing product safety. If a defective product causes an accident and the defect existed when the product left the control of the manufacturer, the manufacturer may be held liable for the accident. A defective product in a lawsuit involving a train accident could involve a defective train or a malfunctioning train component. Defective signal equipment and other types of equipment may also be included in similar cases. Accident victims may be able to seek compensation from the maker of the defective goods if a malfunctioning defective product results in a train accident.
What Damages Are Available to MetroLink Train Accident Victims?
The injuries sustained in a Metrolink or train accident can be severe, regardless of whether the victim is a MetroLink rider, a pedestrian, or a driver or passenger of another vehicle. Fortunately, California law gives you the option to seek compensation for any monetary losses and/or emotional distress you may experience related to the crash.
These are referred to as economic damages and non-economic damages. Collectively, they are often called compensatory damages.
You may be entitled to compensation if you were seriously injured or lost a family member in a train accident. How much you can claim for your injuries is a common question among Metrolink accident victims, and the value of a train accident claim is influenced by a number of unique variables. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that every case is different.
Damages you may be able to recover after a Metrolink accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Property damage
- Nursing aid
- Reduced earning capacity
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of consortium
Metrolink injury victims may also receive punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages after a Metrolink or train accident in rare cases. A judge may impose punitive damages as retribution if they determine that the defendant acted with oppression, deception, or malice.
Wrongful Death Damages in a Fatal Metrolink Accident
If a person dies in a train accident, certain family members of that person may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. In contrast to claims involving personal injuries, wrongful death cases offer distinct types of damages. In a personal injury case, damages are paid for the losses the victim incurred as a result of their injuries. However, in a wrongful death claim, compensation is awarded for specific damages that the victim’s family endured as a result of the untimely passing of a loved one.
The types of damages that a plaintiff may be able to get under California law in a wrongful death case may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. A Long Beach wrongful death lawyer with experience handling these types of claims can help you thoroughly assess your situation to make sure you claim everything you are entitled to.
There are several types of damages that are available in wrongful death claims, even though these do vary from case to case. Here are some common expenses we see claimed in wrongful death cases:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- The estimated income and benefits that the deceased would have received over the course of their lifetime
- Financial support for the home
- Loss of household services that the deceased would have supplied, such as cleaning, cooking, yard work, or childcare
- Loss of intangible support, such as direction, love, affection, moral guidance, and attention
Shared Liability in Metrolink Accidents
According to California law, liability can be shared by anyone who may have contributed to a Metrolink train accident. This means that sometimes, both the plaintiff and the defendant may share a percentage of fault for the train accident. The more liability you bear for the MetroLink train accident, the less compensation you will ultimately receive. For example, if you are found to be 15 percent at fault for a Metrolink train accident, your damages will be likewise reduced by 15 percent. In a case where your damages total $100k, you may only receive $85k once the 15% reduction for your own liability is factored in.
It is crucial to push back against accusations of negligence and shared liability for the accident as much as the evidence will support. These kinds of allegations can be put to rest with the help of our Long Beach train accident lawyers. We will demand concrete evidence to support any allegations made against our clients, and we will present a strong case against any defendant we name in your suit.
Contact a Long Beach Train Accident Injury or Wrongful Death Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
You will likely be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to obtain financial compensation if you sustained injuries while riding the Metrolink. During your free consultation, our Long Beach Metrolink accident attorney will be pleased to answer any questions you have about your accident. You will learn more about our law firm and about how our lawyers go about personal injury litigation during this appointment. We strongly advise you to take this opportunity in order to make sure you have the best legal defense possible. It costs you nothing and you will learn a lot about the legal aspects of your situation regardless of how you choose to move forward.
If we agree that you have a case and we decide mutually to move forward together, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis, meaning we will file your case for you and use our resources to get you the compensation you deserve without any up-front or out-of-pocket costs from you. Our train accident attorney will be with you every step of the way, and only when we obtain financial compensation for you will we get paid.
Our legal team has been assisting those hurt in Metrolink collisions for many years, and we are skilled at navigating the legal system to ensure that the at-fault parties are held accountable for your losses. Our years of experience mean that we know how to handle these types of cases.
Serious injuries from Metrolink incidents might cost thousands of dollars in hospital expenses and lost wages, and we will fight to make sure that you are not left to deal with financial fallout after someone else’s negligent actions.