Posted On: October 23, 2009 by Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney

California Train Derailment Victims Settle for $30M

Metrolink, a commuter rail agency, agreed to pay about $30 million to settle most of the lawsuits from a derailment that killed 11 people and injured another 180 on January 26, 2005. A driver, Juan Alvarez, was trying to commit suicide and parked his gas-drenched SUV on the tracks.

A fast-moving Metrolink train struck the SUV, derailed and struck a parked Union Pacific locomotive before colliding with another Metrolink train traveling in the other direction.

According to an article, an attorney for the plaintiffs said Metrolink agreed to settle nearly 90 % of the cases, including nine wrongful death claims and 15 serious injury cases. Both sides are trying to resolve the remaining cases ahead of trial set for January 4.

Alvarez was convicted last year of murder for causing the crash and sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms.

If the civil trial proceeds, attorneys will argue the wreck could have been prevented if the engineer had hit the emergency brake. The engineer said he applied the emergency brake as soon as he realized the SUV was parked across the tracks. However, data from the train showed the engineer applied the service brake for six seconds, instead of immediately hitting the emergency brake.

It was the deadliest rail disaster in California history until last year, when a Metrolink train collided with a freight train in suburban Chatsworth, killing 25 people. A federal investigation revealed a number of safety violations, including a text message sent by the commuter train’s engineer seconds before the collision.

When needless death occurs due to negligence of another party, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed. In these lawsuits, the decedent’s heirs sue the negligent party or parties for damages related to the loss of life and their own pain and suffering. It is recommended that families who think their family member’s death was wrongful first contact a wrongful death attorney for a case assessment. If the case is valid, the attorney can help investigate the claim, gather evidence, represent them in court, and collect the compensation they deserve.

The attorneys at Cherry, Fieger, and Marciano understand the devastating impact a Pennsylvania wrongful death can have on a family. They can help you find justice and compensation for your loved one’s death. Your case consultation with one of the Philadelphia, PA wrongful death attorneys is free of charge and completely confidential.

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