Orange County Metrolink Mass Transit Attorneys
Bus lines and Metrolink trains provide people in Southern California with a convenient alternative to driving. Although most mass transit trips are safe and uneventful, accidents can and do happen. Recovering compensation for injuries in a mass transit accident can be a time-sensitive and complicated matter, that requires top-notch legal assistance.
The legal team at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie are here to protect your rights. Contact us at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a consultation.
As reported by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), California’s mass transit infrastructure includes approximately:
- 22,000 transit vehicles
- 700+ transit passenger stations
- 2,550 miles of intercity rail corridors
The Orange County Transportation Authority ranks as number six in the top ten largest transit systems located in major urban areas and accounts for 3% of all ridership statewide. Approximately two-thirds of all transit trips in California are by bus, with most of the remaining trips made by rail. Over the past decade, however, the proportion of bus trips has declined, while the number of rail trips have been steadily increasing.
LAO reports that a large portion of the state’s mass transit assets are past their prime and need to be replaced, including vehicles, stations, and fixed guideways, such as rail tracks. Approximately 43% of mass transit assets are at or past their service lives, and 51% of the remaining assets show some signs of deterioration. Assets operating beyond their service life have a higher risk of failure, which can significantly affect the safety and reliability of mass transit systems.
Public, private, and school buses are large, heavy vehicles that are more difficult to maneuver than passenger cars and light trucks. Buses may be involved in collisions with other vehicles or be involved in bicycle or pedestrian accidents. Bus crashes can injure passengers, motorists, pedestrians, and even bicyclists. Most buses are not equipped with seatbelts, and passengers are free to stand or walk or around the bus, adding to the risk of sustaining an injury.
Who Is Liable for Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents may involve multiple potentially liable parties.
- If the crash involved a government-owned bus, the state or local government may be responsible for injuries resulting from the accident.
- A bus maintenance company hired to keep a bus in safe condition may have neglected their duties, and may be held liable.
- Bus companies are responsible for hiring qualified drivers and ensuring they are adequately trained. This vital aspect of transit safety may have been outsourced to another company. A bus company that fails to meet these legal obligations may be liable for damages if an accident occurs.
- If a driver of another vehicle acted in a negligent manner and caused a crash, that driver could be held liable for resulting bus accident injuries.
- In the case of a school bus crash, the school district may be liable if the bus driver operated the bus in a reckless manner and caused an accident.
Train accidents have been known to occur in Orange County from time to time. One example is the person struck and killed by a Metrolink train in Fullerton, as reported by the Orange County Register. OCR also reports that a construction worker was injured in August 2019 when an Amtrak train collided with a forklift stuck on the tracks in San Juan Capistrano. Another example was the 2010 tragedy when two teens on the tracks in Mission Viejo were struck and killed by a Metrolink commuter train, reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Types of Train Wrecks
Rail accidents in Orange County can occur in various ways. These incidents may involve:
- Pedestrians or passengers hit at or near boarding and exit stations
- Collisions with motor vehicles at or near rail crossings
- Braking failures that lead to collisions (including head-on) with other trains
Who Is Liable for Train Accidents?
Californians may suffer serious or fatal injuries in train wrecks as pedestrians, motorists, or commuters. Operators of commuter trains, and other rail lines are considered common carriers and owe their passengers the highest level of care. Railroads are required to comply with Federal Railroad Safety Administration regulations. Violations of safety standards and regulations often form a basis for imposing liability when it leads to accidents and injuries.
Train and bus accidents are complex cases involving federal regulations and multiple potentially responsible parties. If you have been seriously injured in a mass transit accident, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney. The faster you act to retain legal representation, the sooner your lawyer can begin investigating the accident and obtaining and preserving evidence to support your claim.
Our Orange County personal injury attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie have won hundreds of millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We offer a free consultation with no time limits and no restrictions. Call us today at (949) 752-7474 if you or your loved one has been hurt in a mass transit accident.
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