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California Caltrain deaths often due to rail line company negligence

California’s commuter rail line, Caltrain, claimed its twelfth fatality of 2012 just two weeks prior to end of the year. A 56-year-old Oakland man walking near a Caltrain station one evening was struck and killed in a collision with the fast-moving train. Caltrain officials are investigating the death and it has yet to be determined if he was in the pedestrian crosswalk at the time of the accident. Due to the size and speed of a Caltrain, the chances of surviving a collision are very slim. Fatal accidents on the California rail line happen all too often. In a 2008 case, a teenage boy was killed after being struck by a Caltrain as he was in the pedestrian crossing. Caltrain claimed that the boy could have avoided the accident if he had been looking where he was going. However, the young man’s family obtained a $2 million settlement from the company for his wrongful death, claiming the company was negligent on a number of issues:

  • “Holdout Rule”: At many stations, trains are not allowed to pass other trains that are on-boarding or off-boarding passengers. This is because passengers are often required to walk over “active” tracks and the view of the oncoming train is blocked by the stopped train. This rule was not followed at this station.
  • Speeding: The engineer driving the train that stuck the boy was allegedly driving too fast as he hurried to catch up on lost time in the commuting schedule.
  • Unsafe pedestrian crossing: The victim’s family showed that the exit swing gate was open and that the crossing arm was up, both indicating it was safe to cross at the time of the fatal accident.

Caltrain should be held responsible for any negligence on its part that caused or contributed to a train accident. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by a company or individual, consult a personal injury lawyer as you may be entitled to financial compensation for many of the losses that result from the accident.

Survivors of those who die from their injuries may receive compensation for damages including loss of the victim’s future income and loss of the victim’s care and companionship.

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