In an alarming and tragic turn of events, two BART workers were killed late last month while inspecting train tracks for safety, which raises an interesting intersection between the laws of personal injury, employment liability and wrongful death. Earlier this week, the coroner’s report was released, which provides investigators with the cause of death for both: blunt force trauma. As investigations ensue, it is still unclear what lead to the unexpected demise of these workers. One thing is certain, their surviving family members will likely be able to recover from either the employer or another responsible entity for financial damages caused as a result of this unfortunate event. If you or your family member recently endured a sudden accident and are having difficulty making sense of your legal rights in the aftermath, we encourage you to contact Nelson C. Barry today.
On October 19th of this year, two experienced, seasoned inspectors were investigating possible safety hazards within the train tracks used by BART trains. In response to reports of “dips” on the tracks, Christopher Sheppard, 58, and Laurence Daniels, 66 were killed by an oncoming train that apparently did not see the workers or did not stop in time. The workers were killed by multiple blunt force traumas inflicted throughout their bodies, however the full autopsy results are not presently available from the coroner’s office.
This case raises one blaring issue: who was responsible for the logistic engineering of the BART trains on the day of the accident? As part of any safety compliance plan, an employer like BART should make certain that any day wherein an inspector is on the tracks, trains are re-routed accordingly to ensure and maximize safety. As a result of the employer’s failure to protect these inspectors, it is possible surviving family members could have a cause of action against BART and its employees for failing to adequately prepare a safety plan.
Any case involving machinery, including trains or mass transit vehicles, always raises a question of product liability. Product liability is a subset of negligence law that allows injured plaintiffs (or their surviving family members) to raise a cause of action against a manufacturer or designer for faulty parts or negligent construction. One possible theory in this case is that the train could have stopped in time but for a technical defect with the brakes, engine or tracks themselves. This theory does not always pan out in every vehicular case, but it is usually worth investigating.
Contact Nelson C. Barry Today
If you are reeling from the recent death of a loved one and believe another person or entity may be to blame, we encourage you to contact our office today. We are experienced with wrongful death and product liability actions and can handle your case with the compassion and care it deserves.