As Trauma Centers Shut down, Injured Patients at Risk of Fatality

Sunday, March 16, 2014

As more and more trauma centers across the country are forced to shut down operations, severely injured patients who depend heavily on the kind of emergency treatment provided by a trauma care center may be at a heightened risk of fatality.

According to new research, the closure of these centers across the country is placing lives at risk, and is tied to an increased fatality risk for injured patients. A trauma care center is equipped with the kind of emergency medical equipment that is necessary to save the life of a critically injured patient. Typically, when a patient has been very severely injured as the result of a major auto, trucking or train accident, or sustains any other injury which places him at a severe risk of death, he needs to be rushed to a trauma care center where he can receive the treatment necessary to stabilize his condition.

The transfer to a trauma care center needs to happen immediately, and as soon as the patient has been injured. When a trauma care center is located far away from the site of the accident or injury, too much precious time passes before the patient can be transferred to the center. With every passing second, his risk of dying increases.

The researchers examined data involving more than 270,000 patients, and analyzed the effects of the closure of three centers in California between 1999 and 2009 to find out the association between the closure of the centers, and heightened patient fatality risk. They found that when one trauma center closed, patients who were now forced to travel much further to a trauma center were 21% more likely to succumb to their injuries in the hospital, compared to patients who did not have to travel that far to access trauma care. They also found that the risk of fatality seemed to be highest in the first two months after the trauma care center closed down.

Metrolink $200 Million Liability Settlement is too Little too Late

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Last week, Metrolink filed court papers accepting $200 million liability in the Chatsworth train accident in 2008 that killed 25 people.  If the settlement is approved, both Metrolink and Connex Railroad will have no more liability in the deadly accident, the worst in Southern California in recent history.

A federal law caps Metrolink’s liability in the event of an accident at $200 million.  Metrolink is merely using that law to protect its back.  Unfortunately, for those who were injured in the accident, as well as the families of those who were killed, $200 million will not cover the kind of expenses these people have suffered, and are likely to suffer in the future. 

Metrolink says that a $200 million settlement will not only allow plaintiffs to be compensated quicker, but will also avoid the expense and time involved in litigation.  It seems that Metrolink has waited this long - about two years since the crash - precisely because it knows that victims are tired of waiting after 24 months, and are more likely to resign themselves to their options.

It's the kind of tactic that California train accident lawyers are familiar with, but considering that this was one of the worst train disasters in recent US history, it's fair to expect some compassion here.  We may not have heard the last of Metrolink yet.  One legislator from Ventura County has announced his intention to introduce a bill that would remove the $200 million cap because of the seriousness of the accident.  For the 130 persons injured in the accident and the families of the 25 who died, it seems absurd that Metrolink will choose to hide behind an archaic federal law Instead of facing up to all of its liability here.

Metrolink Engineer Found Tampering with Surveillance Cameras

Thursday, June 10, 2010

There are many factors that Metrolink accident lawyers would blame for the declining standards of safety recently on Southern California’s commuter system. These include lack of oversight, regulatory apathy, and poor employee training. It seems like we can also add sabotage to that list. According to Metrolink, one of its engineers was found tampering with the surveillance cameras that were recently installed in response to the deadly Chatsworth train accident in 2008.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the engineer who works for an operating contractor was found trying to block the cameras at least three times. The engineer has now been barred from working on any Metrolink train. This was not the first time that engineers and conductors have been found trying to sabotage - which is what this really is - video surveillance systems. In March, another engineer was found trying to use a piece of paper to block the camera. Investigations into that incident are still ongoing.

Any Los Angeles personal injury attorney would be shocked to learn that this particular engineer is still running Metrolink trains. We’re almost afraid to ask why this engineer is still being allowed to run the trains. It shouldn't take an investigation to know when a crew member simply does not believe in high adherence to safety standards. It was an engineer texting at the controls of the train that resulted in the deadly crash which killed 25 people and injured more than 130 others. It was the deadliest train accident in Southern California in recent history, and soon after, Metrolink installed the surveillance cameras.

The unions have been opposed to the surveillance cameras from the very beginning. In fact, the union currently has a lawsuit pending against the use of the surveillance cameras. Earlier this year, the union also created a ruckus over the use of psychological assessment testing to screen potential candidates for important operator positions at Metrolink.

Father Files Claims in California Train Accident That Killed His Son

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Washington resident has filed a series of government claims against several California entities he believes are responsible for his son’s wrongful death in a train accident last year.

64-year-old Charles Isaacson was driving his 1998 Honda on Sept. 15 when he attempted, with the rest of the right-of-way traffic, to cross a section of Caltrain railroad tracks. The cars in front of him stopped to yield for an oncoming fire engine, and the train gates came down, trapping Isaacson. A few moments later, Isaacson’s car was struck by an oncoming train. He was killed in the impact.

According to reports, the train had been traveling at approximately 60 miles per hour at the time of impact. From the time Charles became stuck on the tracks to the impact, there was no way the train could have stopped given the speed it was traveling, the reports say, going on to add that the moment the gates came down, the situation was irrecoverable.

Donald Isaacson, Charles’ father, has filed a number of claims related to the accident. In particular, he has alleged that improper track design was a contributing factor. He argues that the specific setup of the tracks in that location contributed to his son’s death by forming a “trap” that couldn't be escaped, and was therefore unsafe to begin with.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors rejected one of Donald’s claims, which is merely the first step in what is sure to be a long legal process. If the other agencies named in Isaacson’s claims make similar rejections, the ground has been laid for a lawsuit to be filed at a future date.

The groups named in the claims include Caltrain, San Mateo County, SamTrans, Redwood City and the engineer of the train that struck Charles’ car. The claims against the city and county were filed because it is possible that they had a hand in designing and maintaining the lights and signals at the crossing. Isaacson’s claims are for unlimited compensation to account for the loss of his son’s financial support.


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