Nearly 30 passengers were injured including four critically when a Ventura County commuter train crashed into a truck abandoned on the train tracks. The injured Metrolink passengers have a legal right to seek compensation for their medical bills and other losses to help them recover and move forward with their lives.
The commuter train was traveling about 79 miles per hour en route to downtown Los Angeles Tuesday morning when it struck a truck parked on the tracks in Oxnard, creating a fireball. Twenty-eight of 49 people on board were taken to Ventura area hospitals where they were treated for injuries ranging from head trauma to back and neck damage.
The injuries ranged from significant head trauma to head and back injuries, according to the Ventura County Medical Services Office. Four passengers were in critical condition, according to a Los Angeles Times article.
Oxnard Police arrested a 54-year-old man on felony hit-and-run charges after he allegedly abandoned the commercial truck and trailer owned by The Grower's Company, Inc on the train tracks.
While police pursue criminal charges against the driver, a criminal conviction won't pay the medical bills or replace lost income for the passengers who were injured. Passengers who have been injured in the accidents caused by others have a right to seek compensation by filing a civil lawsuit against all the responsible parties to address their personal injuries.
Millions of California residents rely on public transportation and the governmental agencies that provide the transportation are responsible for their safety. Because commuter trains are designed to transport a large number of riders, accidents involving trains often involve numerous injuries including:
- broken bones
- head injuries
- neck injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
- spinal cord injuries
The potential for injury is high, especially in train derailment accidents such as this one, in which the train cars rolled onto their side.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, along with the Federal Railroad Administration, which said it would address any safety lapses that might have occurred.
It's often the case with public transportation accidents that more than one party shares responsibility for an accident.
What Steps to Take After Commuter Train Accident
If you are involved in the train crash, there are several important steps you should consider to protect yourself:
- Get complete medical check: People involved in crashes, especially traumatic incidents such as train wrecks, are pumped up with adrenaline and might not feel the pain. If you were not transported by ambulance for emergency treatment, see a doctor for a complete physical check-up. If you hit your head, you could have suffered a concussion or a traumatic brain injury without it being immediately apparent. A doctor's record of your injuries will provide valuable evidence in making a claim.
- Notify your insurer: Let your insurance company know immediately what happened, in case you need to file an injury claim.
- Do Not Give Statement: If contacted by an insurance company adjuster representing the at-fault party, do not sign anything or give a statement about the accident or whether you are under a doctor's care. Your statement may be used against you later to undermine your claim.
- Understand your legal rights: An attorney experienced in handling personal injury cases involving train crashes can discuss with your legal options. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will gather all the information necessary and follow the correct legal steps, meeting all time limits, to obtain an award that will cover the costs of physical injuries and suffering, as well as lost work time and other expenses.
If you were a passenger on that train, your life has already been disrupted through no fault of your own. The last thing you need is the financial stress of medical bills related to the treatment of injuries from an accident caused by someone else. To review your legal options, contact Andrade Law Offices online or by calling (805) 422-7767.