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Metro Blue Line Derailment Injures One, Halts Service

RR crossing freight trainA derailment of the Metro Blue Line last week sent one person to the hospital and left Compton commuters without their usual mode of transportation for one full day.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the accident occurred after a car appeared to have driven around the crossing gates and into the path of the oncoming train.

Collision forced train off tracks

The accident occurred Monday morning, November 23, at the corner of 119th Street and Willowbrook Avenue. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Transit Policing Division told the Los Angeles Times that the force of the collision forced the train off the tracks. Fortunately, none of the train cars overturned and none of the passengers on the train were injured in the crash.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to an area hospital immediately following the crash, where he was listed in critical condition. No other information about the motorist has been released, including whether charges will be filed against him.

The collision damaged the train, a track switch box and the support system holding the electrical wires that deliver electricity to the trains. Officials initially said closure of the tracks would only be a matter of hours, but the damage was extensive enough to close the tracks for a full 24 hours. Commuters were shuttled to their destinations in Willowbrook and Compton via buses while the train was out of commission.

Train accidents on the rise

Train derailments may not make headlines frequently, but deadly incidents have been on the rise in recent years. According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, 910 derailments have occurred nationally in the first half of 2015, which already marks a 4.7 percent increase over derailments through all of 2014. Fatalities as a result of train accidents have also increased, with 556 occurring between January and August 2015, a 26.9 percent increase from 2012.

The Metrolink rail lines, which service commuters in the southern California area, see approximately 44,000 boardings every single day. As one of the top 10 most used commuter train systems in the U.S., it is also one of the deadliest with the second highest number of fatalities in the country. Between 1998 and 2008, around 99 deaths occurred on commuter trains in California each year.

Train derailments: causes and injuries

There are many potential causes of train derailments. As in this current accident, a vehicle is often involved in a collision with a train, causing the cars to come off the tracks. Accidents may also be caused by train operator error, due to an inexperienced or fatigued operator. Defects in the train or the tracks themselves may also be attributed to some train accidents.

Injuries from train derailments can vary considerably. If a motorist is involved with the collision, the injuries can often be catastrophic for both the driver of the vehicle and passengers onboard the train. The sheer impact and size of the vehicles involved in the crash can lead to serious and even deadly consequences. Victims may spend the rest of their lives trying to recover from that single incident, in terms of their physical health and overall quality of life.

For more than 20 years at Ellis Law, our train accident lawyers have been assisting victims of personal injury in the greater LA area. Call 1-800-INJURED for a free case review and answers to all of your legal questions.