Metro train in a downtown California city

Are Trains a Dangerous Mode of Transportation?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

At J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA, we specialize in personal injury cases and are familiar with the legal nuances of transportation-related injuries. This article aims to provide an insightful analysis of the safety of train travel in California, especially in light of recent incidents that have raised public concerns.

Train Transportation in California: An Overview

California’s extensive train network, including commuter rails like Metrolink, Amtrak’s long-distance routes, and local light rail systems, serves millions of passengers yearly. While trains are generally considered a safe mode of transportation, accidents do happen, and their impacts can be severe due to the size and speed of trains.

Recent Train Accidents In California

  • November 27, 2023
    • A teenage girl was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Riverbank, CA on November 27, 2023. The incident happened at around 10:45 a.m. under the Atchison Street Bridge, between Prestwick and 1st Street. A spokesperson for BNSF Railway said the individual was not in a designated crossing. According to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, the body of an unidentified female was found at the scene. Riverbank Police Services have since identified the girl as a 17-year-old Riverbank resident. Her name hasn’t been released by authorities.
  • November 29, 2023
    • One person is dead after being hit by a train in the Foothill Farms area of Sacramento, not far from North Highlands. According to Meg Ronspies, spokesperson for Union Pacific, one of their trains hit a person near Roseville Road and Walerga Road around 4:30 p.m. None of the train crew was hurt in the collision. A spokesperson for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District confirmed the collision was fatal.
  • June 29, 2023
    • An Amtrak train carrying nearly 200 passengers struck a county water truck and derailed in Southern California, critically injuring the truck’s driver, authorities said. Three of the train’s seven cars went off the tracks following the collision in Moorpark, said Ventura County Fire Department Captain Brian McGrath. The derailed train cars remained upright on tracks adjacent to an orchard and bare sections of land. Fourteen people on the train were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, while the truck driver was taken to a trauma center with a head injury.

Statistical Analysis of Train Safety

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the number of train accidents has fluctuated over the years, but the overall trend in California has been relatively stable. Most train accidents are attributed to track defects, human error, and equipment failure. However, when compared to car accidents, train accidents occur less frequently but can be more catastrophic.

Common Causes of Train Accidents in California

  1. Human Error: This includes mistakes by train operators, such as speeding or failing to obey signals.
  2. Track and Equipment Failures: Poor maintenance can lead to derailments or collisions.
  3. Crossing Incidents: Many accidents occur at rail crossings, often involving motor vehicles or pedestrians.

Legal Framework in California for Train Accidents

In California, train accidents fall under both state and federal regulations. Victims of train accidents can pursue claims based on negligence, product liability, or wrongful death. However, the process is complex, involving multiple parties such as operators, manufacturers, and government entities.

Liability and Compensation

Determining liability in train accidents is challenging. It can involve the train operator, the company owning the railway, manufacturers of train components, or even government entities responsible for rail infrastructure. Victims may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

J&Y Law Firm’s Role in Train Accident Cases

At J&Y Law Firm, we have a track record of successfully representing clients in complex train accident cases. Our approach includes:

  1. Thorough Investigation: Gathering evidence to build a strong case.
  2. Expert Collaboration: Working with industry experts to understand the technical aspects.
  3. Legal Advocacy: Navigating the intricate legal landscape to fight for our clients’ rights.

Preventive Measures and Safety Tips

While legal recourse is vital, prevention is equally important. We advocate for:

  1. Enhanced Safety Measures: Pushing for improved safety protocols and infrastructure.
  2. Public Awareness: Educating the public on safe behaviors near train tracks and crossings.


While trains in California are relatively safe, accidents do occur and can have devastating consequences. At J&Y Law Firm, we are committed to helping victims navigate the aftermath of train accidents, advocating for their rights and fair compensation. If you have been injured by a train in the state of California, call us today at (877) 711-2175 for a free consultation about your situation. We fight aggressively for the rights of our clients and look forward to serving you.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.