In what might have been a public safety nightmare, a commuter train and Metro bus collided in downtown Los Angeles at the end of August. There were approximately 50 passengers on the Metro bus at the time of the collision, and 32 individuals were taken to area hospitals with injuries after the potentially serious accident. It doesn't appear that any passengers on the train were injured.
The accident occurred when the Blue Line train clipped the back corner of the Metro bus. The bus was sent into a spin, and came to rest after hitting a light pole. The bus itself sustained major damage, though it is suspected that none of the passengers suffered really serious injuries.
What caused the accident to happen is still under investigation by authorities. It would seem that traffic signals should have been active, preventing the Metro bus from being in the intersection when the Blue Line train crossed. Such signals are common safety features around train lines, and designed to keep both commercial and personal vehicles as well as pedestrians safe. However, the details of the intersection are not clear, and safety devices have been known to fail.
In such a potentially serious accident, those who suffer injuries might be entitled to seek reimbursement for monetary damages they have suffered from the injuries they sustained. Depending on the scenario, it could be claimed that the city of Los Angeles is at fault for not having adequate signals, or not keeping the signals working properly. It could also be that the driver of the bus acted negligently in crossing the train tracks at an unsafe time, or there could be other claimed negligence on the part of the train operator. This won't be known, though, until a full investigation is completed and the parties involved have an opportunity to assess their rights and responsibilities under California law.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "32 hurt after Blue Line train hits Metro bus near downtown," Ari Bloomekatz, Aug. 27, 2012