In many instances a Los Angeles personal injury attorney will deal with a single plaintiff in a litigation case. However in certain circumstances a class action lawsuit may be instigated and in the case of a train accident, this may well be the best way to proceed. In 2008 in the state of California, the Chatsworth Metrolink train crash happened when a Union Pacific freight train collided head on with the Metrolink commuter train. The accident resulted in 25 fatalities, 135 people were injured and out of these 46 were critical. It was the deadliest train crash in America for over 15 years. As a result lawyers prepared to file a series of claims worth up to $200 million.
In high profile cases such as this where there are a large number of plaintiffs all pursuing one cause then a class action lawsuit might be an advantage. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney who is experienced in class action train accidents may well advise that this is the best way forward. There are several reasons for this as follows:
A class action allows a collection of people to file for a claim as a group, when quite often individually, they might not be able to afford to do so. It can also create a momentum that can propel the case forward whilst promoting strength in numbers. One can only speculate, that if a class action had been taken out over the Chatsworth rail link disaster, then the $200 million dollar ceiling figure imposed may well have been exceeded. A class action has the ability to make large corporations or manufacturers sit up and listen and at the same time it places fewer obligations on the plaintiffs concerned. Because of the fact that it has the ability to unite several plaintiffs under one case, it increases the efficiency of the judicial system. Finally most class actions are operated on a ‘contingency fee’ basis which means that there are no upfront fees or costs, and your lawyer takes their cut out of the final settlement, if the case is proven. This gives your Los Angeles personal injury attorney the incentive to give it their all.
A good Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who specializes in train accidents will be able to help an individual or a group of plaintiffs by finding out exactly who is to blame for the incident and hold those people or entities responsible. Some of the main causes of train crashes or derailments are as follows:
The agency or company that owns and operates the train
Train operators are required by law to keep their vehicles in a good state of repair. They are also responsible for hiring employees who can carry out the necessary maintenance correctly and efficiently and are also accountable for giving them the proper training in order to do their job properly.
The owner of the rail track
It is the responsibility of the rail track owner, whether that be a government entity or a private company to make sure that the rail track is maintained in a safe condition and that all signals on thet length of track are working correctly.
Motor vehicle driver
If the driver of a motor vehicle has either stalled or deliberately left their vehicle on a rail crossing or track (as in the case of the 2005 Glendale train crash) then that person can be held responsible for any injuries/fatalities caused.
If the train was fitted with faulty parts that were deemed to be the cause of the train accident then it is possible that the company who made the part could be held accountable. If it could be proved that the part was indeed faulty when it left manufacturer then this could be the breakthrough that a Los Angeles personal injury attorney needs.
As you can see, a train accident claim may not be as straight forward as first thought and your lawyer will be working really hard to find the company or entity responsible. Therefore someone with the experience necessary to handle such a high profile case is vital to your success. Train crashes are extremely traumatic experiences but the right Los Angeles personal injury attorney will be able to bring some sort of closure to your horrific experience.