Commuter Train Accident Lawsuits Filed Over LA MetroLink Crash

Lawsuits were filed last week on behalf of seven victims who were injured or killed in the September Metrolink commuter train accident in Los Angeles. In addition, more claims are likely to be filed in the coming months, as a total of 25 people died in the crash and another 134 were injured.

The train crash occurred on September 12, 2008, when a Union Pacific freight train collided head-on with a Metrolink commuter train in Chatsworth, Los Angeles.

Investigations have suggested that the Metrolink train ran through a red control light, and the Metrolink train’s engineer may have been suffering from fatigue and sending text messages around the time of the crash.

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The commuter train accident lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, and two of the cases involve wrongful death claims.

According to the Associated Press, the lawsuits name a variety of defendants, including Veolia Transportation, their subsidiary, Connex Railroad, who contract to provide the engineers who run the Metrolink trains, and the estate of the train’s engineer, Robert Sanchez. Some lawsuits also named the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the regional rail authority that operates Metrolink and other contractors.

The collision was the worst train accident that has occurred in the United States in almost 15 years.

About six weeks after the crash, the Metrolink board announced that they approved millions of dollars in safety improvements. They will be adding Automatic Train Stop technology, replacing incandescent light bulbs with light-emitting diodes on signals, and adding more engineers and conductors.

Another commuter train crash near Chicago in 2005 killed two people and injured dozens of others. In November 2008, the families of the two passengers who died settled their train accident lawsuits for a combined total of $11 million, and a number of other personal injury lawsuits are still pending from the crash.

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