According to a report from San Diego’s NBC News 7, Los Angeles County recently took yet another dubious prize as the most dangerous county in the country, this time as the most dangerous county in the United States for train vs. pedestrian accidents according to data from the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) . Los Angeles had recently been named as the most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians as well as for bicyclists in other rankings that recently have been released by a variety of safety organizations or governmental agencies. The FRA is the federal agency responsible for monitoring, promulgating and enforcing safety regulations related to the operation of trains in the United States. Among its duties is to collect data relating to train safety throughout the country, including related to instances where a pedestrian is killed or injured in an incident involving a train. Its data showed that the majority of the ten most dangerous counties for pedestrian vs. train accidents were in California, including a number in Southern California near the top of the list.
Although the FRA data reflected that many of the incidents took place as a result of pedestrians who had trespassed on train tracks, what the article does not touch upon is the fact that many of these incidents occurred under circumstances which may have had nothing to do with the fact that the pedestrian may have been trespassing on the railroad’s property. These include, for example, a pedestrian who is struck by a train at an intersection where the warning lights were not not functioning or the gate that normally blocks the sidewalk was suffering some of electrical problem and was not working. Furthermore, even if the person was trespassing, if he or she was injured as a result of certain types of dangers on railroad property, there is nothing to prevent the person from recovering damages under California law. This is because, under California law, a property owner owes a duty of care to all people who enter onto the property owner’s land, even if the person is a trespasser. In the event a trespasser enters onto land and is injured by certain types of harm, a trespasser may still be able to sue the landowner if, for example, there are rusty nails scattered all over the tracks and the railroad that owns or operates the tracks is aware of the nails but never took any action to remove them. In that case, the railroad could potentially be held liable for any injuries the trespasser suffered, even given the trespasser was not supposed to be on the railroad’s property.
California had six of the ten most dangerous counties for train versus pedestrian incidents according to the FRA’s data, including multiple counties in Southern California. Los Angeles County lead the nation in accidental train vs. pedestrian deaths, with 110 fatal trespassing accidents from 2013-17, according to the FRA. Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago, was second, with 109 deaths. San Diego County tied for ninth place with Contra Costa County on the accidental death list, with 44 fatalities for the period from 2013-17. The FRA sent out site review teams to each of the counties that made up its top ten list in order to further assess the particular dangers in each spot that led to the large numbers of fatalities. The teams helped local railroads to determine what they could do better by identifying high risk areas for pedestrian incidents and further measure the railroad could take, like installing fencing or video surveillance systems, to keep pedestrians safe.
According to the agency’s latest findings, 325 pedestrians were killed nationwide in 2018 while on railroad tracks in the first seven months of 2018. Total annual trespassing-related pedestrian fatalities increased 18 percent over a five-year span, from 725 in 2012 to 855 in 2017 according to the FRA statistics. Those fatality counts do not include pedestrian suicides, which can be a common occurrence and which are a tragic separate category of incident unrelated to these deaths.
Was you, or someone you love, injured or killed by a hit and run driver in Los Angeles or elsewhere Southern California? This is an extremely common occurrence in both Los Angeles as well as California more generally, so much so that California has the highest number of hit and run crashes in the country by far. If this impacted you or someone you know or love, contact us immediately at (888) 529-3111 or email@example.com. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have successfully pursued personal injury claims against dozens of negligent drivers who have injured or killed pedestrians, bicyclists or innocent bystanders in Los Angeles in the past in hit and run accidents and we fight tooth and nail to recover every element of damage for our clients that they are entitled to under California law. Without the help of a trusted personal injury law firm like JT Legal Group when you have been injured or killed in a hit and run incident in Los Angeles or some other part of Southern California, your claim may be subject to getting pushed to the side or completely rejected. For more information, including a free consultation regarding your particular situation, contact our firm immediately – we’re here to help you.
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