In the past, we have examined railway accidents and fatalities to help call attention to the need for increased safety methods or standards of accountability. The cycle of railroad incidents continues, as the tracks near Martinez, CA, were the site of another fatality last month.
Thirty-two-year-old Martinez resident Liliana Alam was struck and killed by a BNSF train in June 2019. Another woman was killed earlier this year near that same set of tracks, and another was killed in 2014. If you have read our previous blogs, you know that railroad accidents and deaths in this area are, unfortunately, too common. In California, more than 600 railway accidents occur each year.
The incident should be investigated by law enforcement detectives within the city of Martinez, but BNSF has its own police department handling the case. Though hard to believe, it is common for a railroad to deploy its own police officers when determining whether the railroad had any culpability in a train-related death. A more sensible, albeit uncommon, practice would be to have an independent third party conduct any investigation in which a multi-billion-dollar company may have been responsible for someone’s death.
When you’ve been wronged by an enterprise or individual, we believe it’s important to seek justice. Holding accountable a for-profit business that’s powerful enough to convince a local police agency to relinquish its authority is undoubtedly a daunting task. But that’s why we’re here.
At Bolt Hoffer Boyd, we have devoted our careers to fighting for those who have been injured or killed by trains. If a train accident has affected you or someone you know, please contact us to schedule a consultation.