Santa Monica Train Accident Leaves One Injured
Last Wednesday, a train accident in Santa Monica left one person injured. The December 9, 2015 crash occurred near Colorado Ave. and Seventh St. Shortly after noon, a flatbed semi that was carrying a load of lumber struck the light rail train and knocked two of its wheels off the track.
According to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau, the truck driver had been traveling westbound on Colorado Ave. when he executed an illegal left-hand turn onto Seventh St. At that point, the truck struck the front of the train.
No passengers were involved
Train accidents can be among the most catastrophic. When a train is carrying many passengers and it derails from the tracks, there is the potential for many serious injuries and fatalities. Fortunately, this train accident was not nearly as serious as most of them. The Expo Line Construction Authority was still conducting safety tests on the 6.6-mile light rail extension, which runs from Culver City to Santa Monica. The Expo Line had been close to turning the project over to Metro for further testing. The extension had not been scheduled to open to the public until the spring of 2016.
Because of the testing, the train was not carrying any passengers. The operator was not injured and there were no fatalities. Although the truck driver was transported to a hospital for medical treatment, it was reported that he suffered only minor injuries. Although the investigators did note that the truck driver made an illegal left turn, it is not yet known if he will face any charges.
Liability issues associated with train accidents
Investigating a train derailment or collision may be far more complicated than investigating a typical car accident. Liability is dependent upon which entities may have been at fault, such as the train’s operator, the driver of any other involved vehicles, safety inspectors, or the transportation authority. It is possible that multiple defendants may be named in a personal injury lawsuit.
For instance, victims might sue the railroad company that operates the train if it failed to provide proper training or failed to initiate protocols to ensure its employees were not performing their jobs while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a different company owned the railroad track line, that defendant may be held liable for failing to properly install and maintain safety lights and gates at railroad crossings. Another potential defendant is the train designer or manufacturer, who might be held liable for failing to install appropriate brake systems, warning whistles, warning lights, and coupling mechanisms.
If you’ve sustained injuries as a result of a train, car, truck, or other type of accident and need answers about your legal options, Ellis Law is extending free consultations with a veteran personal injury attorney. Call 310-641-3335 anytime, 24/7 to set up a case evaluation.