Pedestrians rarely survive the injuries that they suffer after being struck by trains. The great sizes of trains, in addition to the speeds at which they typically travel, often result in catastrophic injuries being suffered by pedestrians who are hit. One recent California train accident resulted in the death of a pedestrian; the first such fatality reported by Caltrain in 2013. Details in this case remain few and there is not yet any word on whether a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed.
California officials are investigating the contributing factors that may have resulted in this train fatality. Reports indicate that emergency calls summoned first responders to the scene of the collision at approximately 7:30 p.m. It is expected that the county coroner will determine exactly what cause of death led to the man's demise.
No other injuries were reported in relation to this tragic incident. It marks the first such death on Caltrain tracks to be recorded this year; while twelve such deaths occurred last year. Since the investigation into this pedestrian accident is still ongoing, it is difficult to determine whether a civil action could result from the man's death.
California personal injury law does provide the surviving family members of victims killed in some train accidents to pursue wrongful death lawsuits. This type of lawsuit can help such relatives recoup some of the financial damages they have suffered. This can include final burial costs along with any medical bills that may have been necessitated by the fatal accident; and could potentially include any loss of income anticipated for surviving dependent family members.
Source: San Jose Mercury News, "Palo Alto: Pedestrian struck and killed by passenger train," Eric Kurhi, Feb. 8, 2013