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Train Accident Lawyers in Los Angeles

Metrolink at LA stationThough the rail systems in California are largely safe and secure, unexpected incidents can arise, leaving passengers and others with serious injuries. The Los Angeles railroad accident attorneys at Ellis Law understand the importance of skilled legal representation when it comes to securing compensation for such harm, and we stand ready to offer the guidance and unflagging support victims are certain to need.

The aftermath of a Metrolink or other transit-related injury event can be a time full of anxiety and confusion. For over two decades, our L.A. personal injury lawyers have provided aggressive advocacy on behalf of those harmed by the negligence of others, and we stand prepared to help hold transit authorities, equipment manufacturers and other responsible parties accountable for the harm visited upon our clients.

Serious injuries from rail accidents occur not only within the train cars, but also on platforms, stations and crossings. Because each of these circumstances will carry its own set of unique evidentiary challenges, and because deep-pocketed entities such as rail companies and insurers will do everything they can to avoid blame, it is vital to have a team of experienced train accident attorneys on your side.

Rail travel accident statistics and recent trends

Residents of Southern California routinely travel by way of Metrolink rail lines overseen by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), Amtrak lines and Connex-administered routes, all of which link destinations across greater Los Angeles and encompassing San Bernardino, portions of Orange County, Riverside and more. With 44,000 daily boardings, Metrolink represents one of the top ten most-used commuter rail installations in the United States, but it has also tallied the second most fatalities, ranking just behind New Jersey’s rail transit system. Notable collision events in Glendale and Chatsworth accounted for many of these deaths, with 99 occurring during the years 1998-2008.

Sadly, February of 2015 witnessed yet another horrific derailment event, this time in Oxnard. A Metrolink commuter train went off the rails after colliding with a pickup truck and trailer sitting at a roadway crossing. 28 passengers and crew were harmed in the crash, and the train’s engineer died from his injuries several days later.

Data gleaned from the Federal Railroad Administration has revealed that the Oxnard crossing where the accident occurred ranks 23rd among California’s most hazardous crossings. In 2014, two fatalities occurred when a vehicle was hit by an Amtrak train at the same spot along Rice Avenue. This location saw more collision events than any other crossing in Ventura County between 2009-2013. Rail officials have discussed adding safeguards such as additional barriers and grade separations, but so far, action has been stalled due to expense.

Liability in Metrolink and other California railroad accidents

There are numerous potential causes of serious train accidents, and many can yield actionable claims for monetary compensation. Distracted driver, mechanical failures, negligent maintenance of tracks and facilities are just a few of the possible allegations victims can make against operators and other individuals responsible for harm.

If a lawsuit against a transit operator is contemplated, prospective plaintiffs need to realize that specific time limitations and notice requirements must be strictly met before any litigation will be allowed to proceed. At Ellis Law, we are thoroughly familiar with all such procedural rules and can help you navigate the web of confusing regulations and preserve your claim for financial recovery. Federal law imposes a blanket liability cap of $200 million in passenger rail accidents, regardless of how many individuals suffered harm and how negligent the operator is found to be. Therefore, for victims to receive a fair share of any overall award achieved in such a lawsuit, skilled legal representation is invaluable.

In cases where liability is borne by a party other than the transit authority, the attorneys at Ellis Law will deploy a team of accident reconstruction analysts, case investigators and other key experts to determine precisely who was at fault for the collision. For instance, in the case of the recent Oxnard derailment, it is possible that victims will pursue the driver of the pickup truck as well as his employer.

Negligent train equipment manufacturers and designers may also be to blame in derailment cases, and that is why products liability experience can also prove pivotal to success.

Liability in train accident cases can be extremely complex, and those injured need the help of a train accident lawyer with a track record of successful outcomes and the ability to juggle the numerous local, state and federal considerations inevitably in play.

Aggressive Los Angeles litigators can make a real difference

Mass transit disasters often involve a complicated tangle of evidence gathering and legal maneuvering. Rail companies and insurance companies will bring substantial resources to bear in their attempts to avoid liability. Fortunately, victims may avail themselves of the protections afforded by the legal system and fight for fair financial compensation.

Ellis Law offers victims an expansive network of litigation support specialists ready to fight for:

  • Reimbursement of all medical expenses
  • Future rehabilitation and therapy costs
  • Compensation for physical pain and suffering
  • Payment for emotional distress
  • Replacement of lost income and lost earning capacity
  • Compensation for loss of enjoyment and consortium
  • Final expenses in death cases

Seeking justice for railroad crossing accident victims across California

At Ellis Law, we understand the integral role public transportation plays in the lives of thousands upon thousands of southern California residents. When accidents happen and serious injuries are sustained, victims need to know that help is available. Our seasoned team of Los Angeles train accident lawyers will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the facts in your case, explore the availability of compensation and take all necessary steps to fight for your rights. For a no-cost initial consultation, contact us at 1-800-INJURED.

  1. Los Angeles Times, Metrolink crash: Oxnard crossing most hazardous in Ventura County, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metrolink-train-collision-crossing-danger-20150224-story.html
  2. Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, Train Accidents by Railroad Groups, http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/publicsite/Query/inctally3.aspx
  3. CNN, Engineer in California Metrolink train crash dies, http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/03/us/california-train-wreck-engineer-dies/
  4. Los Angeles Times, New Metrolink cars' safety features probably reduced casualties, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-metrolink-crash-safety-20150225-story.html#page=1