Train accidents, including Amtrak and Metrolink accidents, often result in serious injuries and death. According to the Federal Railroad Administration Offices of Safety Analysis, over 700 people in California have been killed in train accidents during the past 10 years.
Additionally, use of the Metrolink in Southern California has grown significantly in recent years, increasing the number of train accidents with buses, cars, and pedestrians causing death and injury. In fact, one of the worst train accidents in the past 50 years occurred in Chatsworth in 2008, injuring 135 people and killing 25, and two of the country’s most accident-prone crossings are located in the San Fernando Valley.
Injuries Resulting from Train Accidents
Train accident survivors often suffer serious and devastating injuries that leave them with permanent disabilities. Common injuries include severe crush injuries, concussions and other head injuries, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, and internal and soft tissue injuries. For more information about personal injury law, including catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, please see our personal injury/wrongful death page.
Recovery for Train Accident Victims
Total financial damages for victims of train accidents are usually determined by taking into account the victim’s medical costs, dependent care costs, health at the time of the accident, physical pain, mental anguish, and lost future wages.
Recovery for victims of train accidents could be limited, however, by the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997, which caps the total damage claims allowable in cases involving railroad accidents. This law covers all rail carriers, and may particularly affect recovery when a train accident involves a large number of victims. Additionally, where the victim of a train accident is an employee of the rail carrier, his or her claim may be governed by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) if the rail carrier travels interstate.