What to do if you or loved ones are hurt in San Diego County rail accidents
San Diego County’s rail services consist of 50 light rail stations on 47 miles of track and 8 regional rail stations on 41 miles of track. Annual light rail ridership as of 2003 was 25.4 million, and regional rail’s annual ridership was 1.3 million in 2002. Ridership in the North County region has been growing of late, with Sprinter boardings rising 3.5% reach 646,955, and Coaster boardings rising 0.6% to reach 355,245 as of 2013.
San Diego County Rail Transit Operators
San Diego County’s rail transit operators include:
- San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), which operates:
San Diego Trolley, a light rail system servicing the San Diego metropolitan area (average weekday ridership 119,800)
- Southern California Regional Rail Authority, which operates:
Metrolink, a commuter rail service serving Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties, consisting of seven lines, 55 stations, and almost 400 miles of track (with almost 42,000 daily riders in the fourth quarter of 2014)
- North County Transit District (NCTD), which operates:
The Coaster, a heavy commuter rail service between the North County community of Oceanside and San Diego proper (average weekday ridership 5,600)
The Sprinter, a light rail service between the North County communities of Oceanside and Escondido (average weekday ridership 7,800)
- Amtrak, which operates:
The Pacific Surfliner, a heavy intercity rail service between San Diego and San Luis Obispo (with 2.7 million boardings in fiscal year 2013)
San Diego County Rail Accidents in the News
Though San Diego County rail accidents are rare, they do sometimes take place. One of the most notable San Diego County rail accidents took place in 2008, when a Metrolink train collided head-on with a Union Pacific freight train in the Chatsworth neighborhood of Los Angeles. Twenty-five people were killed and 135 were injured. For whatever reason, the northbound Metrolink train did not follow protocol and pull onto a siding to allow the southbound Union Pacific train to pass.
As recently as March 2016, a bicyclist was killed crossing a trolley track in Barrio Logan. The 27-year-old victim bypassed the barrier and ventured onto the train tracks at about 5:45 AM, where he was struck by an oncoming trolley. Witnesses attempted to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. The man was wearing earphones and may not have heard the approaching train as it came.
While liability in the second example clearly lies with the decedent, other cases of San Diego County rail accidents may be the fault of the train driver or transit operator’s negligence. If you are injured in San Diego County rail accidents and you can prove that the transit company or driver was guilty of negligence or deliberate misconduct, then you have adequate grounds for a complaint.
Liability in San Diego County Rail Accidents
The key word to remember when you’re trying to decide whether to file a lawsuit against a San Diego County rail transit authority is negligence. Negligence occurs when transit companies such as MTS or the NCTD, which have an unspoken duty to protect passengers, fail somehow in that duty. As a passenger, you rightfully believe that you may travel on trains in San Diego County with danger or injury. Yet perhaps shoddy maintenance led to an electrical fire, and you or relatives are hurt or killed by smoke inhalation. Perhaps a train operator became intoxicated and crashed a train. Perhaps critical safety systems failed, and pedestrians or cars were struck and killed at train crossings without adequate warning. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you and other victims may be within your rights to file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the transit authority.
To determine liability in San Diego County rail accidents, the following conditions must be proven to a jury:
- A relationship existed between you (the passenger) and the transit company (the service provider)
- The transit company failed to live up to the standard of service expected of it
- That failure led to you or your loved ones getting hurt or killed
Hire a Lawyer if You or Loved Ones are Hurt in San Diego County Rail Accidents
To successfully prove the above conditions, it’s a smart idea to hire a San Diego County rail accidents lawyer. A smart, aggressive attorney can help you present your case to a jury of your peers and win you the financial settlement you need to properly cope with your injuries and/or anguish.
One of the foremost reasons you should hire a lawyer is this: you’ll gain a powerful ally in the investigation. Estey Bomberger spares no expense when it comes to investigating an accident and obtaining expert testimony. To conclusively prove that a transit company did not live up to the standard of service which was expected of it, you will often need to produce expert witnesses to testify in court: transportation authorities, accident investigators, and other competent individuals. Estey Bomberger spends every dime necessary to retain these people so that their testimony can help secure a victory and a record-setting verdict.
The Law Firm of Estey Bomberger Can Help You Today
Estey Bomberger has decades of experience representing victims in transportation accident and personal injury cases. We have the legal knowledge and skill to take cases even other lawyers deem “unwinnable” to trial and succeed. We take only a few cases per year so that we can focus the maximum amount of attention on the cases we do take, and we frequently obtain multimillion-dollar settlements for our clients. Don’t let transit companies get away with shoddy maintenance and safety procedures. Obtain the necessary financial resources you need for your ongoing mental and physical healthcare. Get in touch with us today at 1.800.925.0723 or go to ebtrialattorneys.com.
- Materials Research Lab at UC Santa Barbara
- San Diego Union Tribune
- Wikipedia, Pacific Surfliner
- Wikipedia, Coaster
- Wikipedia, Sprinter
- Wikipedia, San Diego Trolley
- Wikipedia, Metrolink
- Los Angeles Times