The circumstances of the collision between a passenger train and a truck allegedly trapped on tracks near Oxnard this week raise questions about liability, which experienced accident attorneys will investigate after the train accident.
NBC of Los Angeles says Jose Alejandro Sanchez Ramirez, 54, of Yuma, Arizona, was driving a truck and trailer owned by The Grower’s Inc. Tuesday morning when he allegedly drove on railroad tracks on Rice Avenue, just east of the Oxnard station. The subsequent collision with a Metrolink train caused a derailment and injuries to 28 people, four of whom were seriously injured.
The driver allegedly tried to leave the scene of the accident, but was taken into custody nearby and charged with a felony hit-and-run charge.
While we are not assigning any liability stemming from the accident, we believe it is instructive to understand how liability is examined in these scenarios.
While a motorist on the tracks would be first in line to be held accountable for the accident, attorneys familiar with railroad accidents also know that “third” additional parties may be liable for the accident, in addition to or instead of motorists.
In a case like this, possible failures at the railroad crossing, or a history of previous accidents at that intersection, would be examined. Depending on the property, a municipality or other entity could be responsible for the design or maintenance of the railroad intersection and potentially liable for the problems that caused vehicles to get stuck before the crash and derailment.
Ramirez’s attorney has said his client’s truck “got stuck and was unable to move off the train tracks.” He also said, “An investigator from the Oxnard Police Department said it was common for trucks to get stuck on tracks, saying this is at least the fourth or fifth time it’s happened in that location,” according to NBC Los Angeles.
Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have already said the truck wasn’t stuck, according to Los Angeles’ NBC. But others suggest there’s a problem with that particular railroad crossing, and railroad accident attorneys investigating the accident will follow through with their own examination of the Rice Avenue intersection.
The Los Angeles Times cites four previous railroad crossing accidents at the same site, which included two deaths. Officials have spoken of building a slope at the Rice Avenue railroad crossing, where Ramirez’s truck allegedly jammed, to make the crossing safer, the Times says.
The Ventura County Star says there were at least five other accidents at the site of Tuesday’s train crash in Oxnard, and local officials say it could have been avoided with a proposed bridge crossing in the works for years.
A railroad accident lawyer will also investigate whether train officials or operators were negligent, or if a problem with the train contributed to the ruin, but let it be clear that there is no indication of any of those assumptions in the informes published so far.
Another factor to consider is that the employed truck driver may be held liable in the event of negligence on their part if they have caused a railroad accident and if they were driving their van as part of their job requirements.
Ramirez has a valid commercial driver’s license and was driving a 2005 F-450 truck that was towing a trailer full of equipment, welding equipment, possibly, the Los Angeles NBC report cites what police reports say. The train crash occurred just before 6 a.m., the time a worker drives to his workplace in the morning.
Reports also say the truck’s emergency brakes were on when Ramirez abandoned the railroad tracks, supposedly to get out and call for help.
There are important questions for those injured in the Oxnard commuter rail derailment that police and NTSB investigations cannot answer. People who were injured in the accident, or their family members, should hire legal assistance as soon as possible to begin investigative work before evidence is destroyed, removed, or obscured.
While police pursue criminal charges, those passengers who were injured can file a civil lawsuit to cover their medical and other expenses related to the accident. Hiring a personal injury attorney quickly after a catastrophic accident such as a railroad accident can have a substantial impact on the compensation an accident victim is able to obtain for injuries, medical expenses, and other losses.
If you need more information about how the Oxnard train crashed, should be investigated on behalf of the passengers of the injured train, please contact Attorney Attorney with You today.

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