The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) settled a wrongful death case in the Alameda County Superior Court in October 2016. Laurence Daniels, a resident of Fair Oaks, CA, was working as a contractor in October 2013, when he and a BART employee were killed when hit by a BART train. Mr. Daniels was evaluating a section of rail track at the time. The incident occurred amid an already difficult span for the organization, as that week the Transit's employees had gone on strike. The East Bay Times reported the details as follows:
- Just prior, a worker in training aboard the train noticed two individuals on the tracks.
- The trainee applied the emergency brakes and reached to activate the horn signal button; however, the button actually was used for activation of the train's doors, and the men were impacted seconds later.
- At the time, the trainee was being overseen by a supervisor; however, the supervisor was in a different cabin of the train, leaving the trainee in the control cabin alone.
- The SF Gate reported that one of the men would have responsibility to act as a “spotter” to notice approaching trains; however, both men were standing in the opposite direction as it approached behind them.
- Further investigation into the supervisor's activity, revealed he had sent a text message about a minute before the accident, implying he was tending to personal communications rather than on safe operation of the train.
- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and National Transportation Safety Board sought to revise BART's safety policies and procedures since the incident.
- BART has implemented a work clearance protocol that restricts trains from traveling through areas when workers are present and improved its active communication systems and barriers for safety.
Terms of the settlement
The settlement agreement reached with Mr. Daniels' family included some of these terms:
- BART's indicates that they dispute being held liable for the incident and are not confirming their liability, but have chosen to compromise in efforts to resolve the case.
- Although the agreement is now in public records, all involved have an understanding to not disclose or further publicize details of the matter beyond stating that it was “resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties”
- The $300,000 amount in the settlement was paid with $215,000 going to a family trust for compensatory damages and $85,000 to another party, assumed to be allocated for the legal services in the case.
If a loved one is suddenly killed as a result of an accident, the repercussions are life-altering. If the death of a family member or loved one is attributable to the negligence of others, it is important to retain legal representation with a solid track record in these cases. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has been aggressively representing victims of serious injuries and death in Colorado for years and will strive to secure economic justice for you. Contact the office today to review the case details.