Girardi | Keese

Could PTC prevent serious injuries in California train accidents?

Many of our readers may be familiar with the horrific train accident that occurred near Chatsworth, California back in Sept. 2008. The deadly train accident claimed the lives of 25 individuals, including the engineer, and injured 135 others. Forty-six of those people suffered critically serious injuries and total damages associated with the collision numbered in the neighborhood of $12 million. This accident wasn't just a catastrophic event for the state of California, but for the entire country.

Many, in fact, consider it one of the worst in the history of United States railways. The root cause of the tragedy was likely the fact that the engineer was distracted from exchanging text messages while he was operating the train. Because of that fact, he missed the signal that would have let him know he needed to stop his four-car commuter train to avoid colliding with a 17-car freight train approaching from the opposite direction.

Another likely contributing factor in this accident, some allege, is the fact that the train lacked any sort of positive train control (PTC) system. PTC utilizes GPS to enact automatic safeguards in events where an engineer either loses control over the train or is in danger of colliding head-on with another train. While proponents have been pushing to enforce railroads to enact PTC nationwide, detractors state that it's too cost-prohibitive and that the system may already be obsolete.

Of course, for California residents who have suffered serious injuries or lost loved ones in train accidents like the one outside Chatsworth, money seems a small price to pay to save lives and suffering. Those who have incurred astronomical medical and related bills due to such a collision may be able to use personal injury or wrongful death laws in order to seek reimbursement for their expenses. No innocent victim of a train accident should have to suffer financially in addition to all of the physical and emotional pain they have already had to endure.

Source: The Verge, "Regulators and railways spar over Positive Train Control, a controversial safety system that won't arrive in time," Matt Stroud, April 15, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

IN THE NEWS

The Soto Verdict

Girardi | Keese attorneys have won a $2.3M verdict for a Long Beach resident run over by a Parks & Rec truck. Read more here.

The Madero Verdict

Attorney Christopher T. Aumais persuaded a San Bernardino County jury to deliver an  exceptionally high verdict in an area known for low jury awards.

A Champion of Justice

Partner Amy Fisch Solomon was a Champion of Justice in 2015, proving that success in law isn't just about the size of your verdict or settlement.

Own a VW Diesel?

Read about VW's emissions scandal and 
our class action against the automaker.

Referrals

Learn About Our Referral Network Read More

Our Attorneys

Meet our award-winning team Read More

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The true measure of a lawyer isn’t the awards, but what the awards say about the lawyer: dedication and commitment to the client.

Super Lawyers Distinguished AV | Lexis Nexis | Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability American Association For Justice Consumer Attorneys Association Of Los Angeles Consumer Attorneys California Supreme Court Icon 7 Icon Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms 2014 | U.S. News American Board of Trial Advocates Law Dragon America's Top 100 Attorneys | Lifetime Achievement