Articles Posted in Train Accidents

450px-Metrolink_Train_(2955742140)On Wednesday, September 7, a Metrolink train crashed into a truck that was on the tracks near Oxnard in Southern California. The pickup truck did not appear to have been stuck or stalled on the rails at the time of the crash, and investigators postulated that the driver of the truck had taken a wrong turn and traveled several dozen feet down the track before stopping the truck. The crash caused three double-decker Metrolink cars to overturn and two additional cars to derail. In all, approximately 50 people were injured in the accident.

Typical Injuries in a Train Crash

Train crashes can occur with terrible violence and can result in serious injuries depending on the unique facts of the crash. Overturned or derailed cars can throw individuals from their seats and into stationary objects such as other seats or the sides of the car. This can result in:

Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) releases what it calls its “Most Wanted List.”  This list represents the NTSB’s top advocacy priorities for the year, improvements to safety that the NTSB believes can make the biggest difference in preventing transportation accidents and saving lives.  Our San Francisco injury law firm shares the NTSB’s commitment to transportation safety and, while we advocate for injury victims in California every day, we know that prevention is always the best goal.

The following items are on the NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List:

  • Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents: It is impossible to know exactly how many car accidents are due to drowsy driving, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes anywhere from 2% to 20% of yearly traffic fatalities are due to drowsy drivers.  The problem also extends to other areas of the transportation field and the NTSB identified fatigue as a probable cause in 20% of the Board’s 182 major investigations between 2001 and 2012.

As residents of Northern and Central California, the team at the Brod Law Firm understands the importance of the wide variety of transportation options available in our region.  Having access to rail systems in particular, traintrackincluding both commuter rails and metro rails, allows people to travel for both work and play without the stress, environmental impact, and cost of commuting by car.  However, as we were reminded this week, train derailments are a very real danger.  Our San Francisco train accident lawyer helps hold transit authorities and others accountable when people are injured or killed in rail accidents, allowing the victims to recover compensation and encouraging a safety-oriented mindset that can prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.

Train Derailment in Sunol Injures Nine, Responders Call it a Miracle No Lives Lost

According to CBS SF, railway officials are blaming a mudslide for the derailment of a commuter rail train in Niles Canyon near Sunol.  At approximately 7:30 PM Monday, the Altamont Commuter Express (“ACE”) train travelling from San Jose to Stockton went off the tracks with the first car sliding down an embankment and ending up in Alameda Creek.  Officials say that the train hit debris from a mudslide that was likely the result of the heavy rains in the area last weekend.

railcrossingAt The Brod Law Firm, we support efforts to make a variety of transportation options available to our Northern California community.  Commuter trains and light-rail vehicles are critical to life at work and life at play for thousands of Californians.  Transit systems not only need to be available to make our region run effectively and efficiently, they need to be safe.  It is inevitable that tracks will meet roads and these crossings are among the most dangerous areas for mass transit systems.  As a San Francisco light-rail accident lawyer, Attorney Brod helps people injured in crashes between trains and automobiles.  Our team investigates, determines fault, and seeks compensation on behalf of those injured in railroad crossing accidents.  Whether the accident was caused by a careless driver, a negligent train operator, the profit-driven San Francisco Municipal Railway (“Muni”) organization, or another entity/individual, we can help.

Light-Rail Crossing Crash Injures Five

A crash between a light-rail vehicle and a truck left five people injured and snarled traffic as many people returned to their normal work lives on Monday morning.  According to CBS SF, the crash occurred in the Bayview District near the intersection of Third Street and Egbert Avenue around 9:15 AM.  A Muni spokesman told CBS that the collision occurred when a truck made a left turn and crossed in front of the train.   Four passengers and the Muni operator were treated for knee and/or neck injuries, none of which were deemed life-threatening.  Light-rail lines were temporarily stopped at Third Street and Armstrong Avenue and bus shuttles were used to take riders around the scene of the crash while it was cleared.

trainspeedOn Tuesday, we discussed non-passenger accidents involving San Francisco’s Municipal Railway (“Muni”).  After that article posted, in a bizarre and tragic twist of fate, multiple accidents occurred in our region including several different transit providers.  The thought and hearts of our Oakland train accident lawyer and our entire legal team go out to the individuals and families affected by these tragedies.  Given Tuesday’s events, we wanted to touch on the issue of train accidents and train fatalities once more and take a broader look at accidents involving railroad vehicles.

A Tragic Day on the Tracks

The Oakland Tribune reports that Tuesday evening’s commute saw collisions involving every major public transit agency in our region, including two deadly accidents.  Officials say it is unclear what exactly led to the four separate collisions.  In particular, in the first three incidents, the article suggests that it is unclear why the parties involved were present on the tracks.

One of the advantages of living in a city is the plethora of transportation options available, a stark contrast to many rural or suburban areas where driving is often the only realistic option.  Many visitors and residents of the Bay Area rely on San Francisco’s Municipal Railway (“Muni”).  Unfortunately, Muni accidents involving bicyclists and other non-passengers are an under-recognized danger.  As a San Francisco Muni Lawyer, Attorney Greg Brod fights for people injured by Muni vehicles, bringing an understanding of the unique factual and legal contours of these cases to each representation.

Fatal Muni Bicycle Accident in San Francisco on Sunday

bikeghost2A Muni accident left a bicyclist dead on Sunday afternoon.  CBS’s San Francisco affiliate reports that a 48-year-old cyclist fell between two Muni buses travelling on the 500 block of Market Street shortly before 3:30 PM.  The rider ended up pinned underneath a tire of one of the buses and died as a result of his injuries.  A police spokeswoman indicated that officers will review surveillance videos and speak to witnesses in order to determine what happened and who was at fault.  Muni officials said the bus driver involved in the crash will be tested for drugs and alcohol and Muni will cooperate in the police investigation.  In a separate event, a female rider suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a truck at 4:01 PM near the intersection of The Embarcadero and Chestnut.

The Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies, Alcatraz…and no list of the iconic images associated with San Francisco would be complete without the cable cars.  They are one of our city’s most popular tourist attractions and have been considered special “moving” National Historic Landmark for more than 50 years (per The San Francisco Cable Car Website).  Yet, many are unaware of the extent of the problem of cable car accidents.  Having served the California legal system since 1996, Attorney Greg Brod is ready and able to help residents and visitors alike as a San Francisco cable car injury lawyer.

Cable Cars Among the Riskiest Forms of Mass Transit

This week, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article about the problem of cable car accidents and attempts by the city and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (“Muni”) to address the danger.  The article focused on two recent accidents, each of which left a conductor seriously injured.  On April 6, a 53-year-old ccablecar2onductor was assisting passengers disembarking from a cable car on the Powell-Mason line when a car struck him, running him over and dragging him 10 feet.  His injuries included bleeding in the liver, broken ribs, and a broken arm.  Two months later, according to pending charges, a drunk motorcyclist hit a 50-year-old conductor from behind when the cable car operator was getting off the same line.  The conductor remains in critical condition.

Last week’s tragic train derailment on Amtrak’s northeast corridor raised a lot of safety and regulatory issues with commuter trains and infrastructure. It also shined a renewed spotlight on an 18 year old federal law that could limit the amount of money victims of Tuesday’s derailment receive from Amtrak.

Congressional limits on payouts from train accidents and derailments

In 1997, Congress passed the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act, which was designed to provide financial support to Amtrak. As a part of that bill, Congress placed a limit on the amount of money that could be recovered by victims of a train accident. The cap applies to all railroads, not just Amtrak.  Based on that legislation, victims of train accidents are currently limited to a maximum payout of $200 million. The cap is not per injury; the total amount that a railroad can payout per accident is $200 million, regardless of the number of injuries or fatalities. train-tracks-2-1350733-m

trainspeedSpeeding is a factor in countless accidents every single day, leaving behind serious injuries and grieving families.  As we have all been reminded in the past week, the danger of speeding isn’t confined to cars.  The thoughts of our entire San Francisco/Oakland train accident law firm go out to the victims of the terrible train derailment in Philadelphia.  As with so many accidents, we believe the very best way to honor the victims is by ensuring such tragedies are prevented in the future.  Implementing Positive Train Control is one way we can prevent future train tragedies.

Speeding and Lack of Safety Controls Eyed in Philadelphia Derailment

According to CNN, eight people died and more than 200 were injured when a Amtrak train derailed just north of Philadelphia last week.  The accident occurred on a well-traveled route from Washington to New York, at a curve in the track near Frankford Junction.  As the news unfolded, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) revealed a disturbing fact – the train was travelling 106 mph as it entered the curve, despite the fact that the curve carries a 50 mph speed limit.

When we mention train safety, people often focus on the possibility of a collision between a train and a car or similar motor vehicle.  However, train safety is also about pedestrians.  As a developing story reminds us, pedestrian train accidents are a very real, often fatal, threat.  Our San Francisco train accident attorney stands ready to help when a pedestrian rail crash stems from the actions (or inaction) of a careless conductor, a risky corporate policy (formal or informal), or another negligent decision that puts innocent pedestrians at risk.

Muni Light Rail Car Hits and Kills San Francisco Boy

A tragic accident stunned San Francisco’s Ocean View neighborhood on Tuesday when a child pedestrian was hit by a Muni vehicle and died at the scene.  At the time of this writing, the facts were slowly unfolding and the story still developing.  The San Francisco Chronicle was reporting that a 12 year-old boy had been hit by a Muni light rail vehicle near San Jose and Lakeview avenues.  Officials told reporters that the boy was running through the crosswalk to catch another train to get to school at the time of the incident.  Muni service in the area was stopped while the medical examiner responded.