Rash of UTA Trax Train Accidents Lead to Safety Focus

The Utah Transit Authority also known as UTA, acknowledged this past Wednesday, that too many accidents are occurring with its Trax and Frontrunner trains. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, UTA has launched a new safety campaign designed to educate the public about the dangers of trains.

Such a push for safety awareness is a long time coming. Already this year, there have been five fatalities involving TRAX trains and two with FrontRunner trains. Additionally, there have been five injuries out of eleven accidents involving TRAX with three injuries from four accidents on the FrontRunner trains. This recent rash in accident cases puts UTA out in front for having the most accidents for systems of its size, including systems in Denver, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Portland and Santa Clara, CA. These five other systems averaged 14.2 incidents per million passenger miles traveled, whereas the Utah UTA system was twice as high with 30.7 incidents. Fatalities were also twice as high when compared to those other systems.

Having screened and litigated cases against UTA, and keeping abreast of other incidents in the news involving UTA, it seems that UTA at times turns a blind eye to the negligent actions of its employees, including transit operators. UTA also seems very quick to blame the injured party for the accident happening, even when the facts of the case strongly suggest operator, system, or design error.

I’m of the opinion that forces within UTA that try and deflect blame away from UTA and its operators, has led to complacency in the way it views safety. Practically speaking, if UTA sees the majority of these accidents as having been caused by the injured parties, then UTA can continue to claim that its a victim of happenstance and that no changes are necessary to address safety lapses within its organization.

Every accident and incident reported, however, are opportunities that UTA has to make its transit system safer, so that like accidents don’t happen again. I hope that UTA really is serious about improving its safety record, because it definitely needs improving.

The opinions expressed above belong to Ron Kramer, a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah truck accident attorney.

Salt Lake City Pedestrian Dies in Early Morning Accident

Police identified Geoffrey Claiborne, 24 years-old, as a victim in an early-morning pedestrian accident in Salt Lake City. According the Salt Lake Tribune, Claiborne was hit by a car as he crossed an intersection at 100 South and 400 East in Salt Lake City around 4:47 a.m. on November 15, 2011. He was traveling in the southside crosswalk, going from east to west, when he was struck by a northbound car. Police say that Claiborne was wearing darker clothing and suggest he was crossing against the light. Another contributing factor may have been an incline in the road that may have made it difficult for the driver to see the pedestrian.

I offer my deep condolences to the family and friends of Geoffrey Claiborne for their sad loss.

The news story does not mention that there were any witnesses besides the driver of the vehicle. Certainly independent witnesses can help settle the score when there are differences in accounts on how an accident may have happened. If the only source for the claim that the man was crossing against a light was from the driver of the car, then it’s hard to say with certainty if the pedestrian was crossing with the light or against it. Police say that the accident remains under investigation, which seems to suggest, that the evidence is inconclusive at this point. The family will want to closely review the accident report to get a better handle on what actually happened. If there was a witness, then they should find out what the witnesses said about the cause of this tragic event to determine what remedy they may have, if any.

The opinions above belong to Ron Kramer, a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah pedestrian accident attorney.

Utah Accident Attorneys Need to Consider Medicare Interests During Settlement

Settlements following a Utah accident can sometimes be complicated and involved. This is especially true if Medicare has paid any of the bills in the case. If they have paid bills related to treatment, the attorney must be very careful to make sure that Medicare’s interests are adequately protected. This involves not only reaching resolution on amounts that Medicare has paid in the past but also determining if Medicare is likely to pay for medical expenses in the future. If future payments by Medicare is likely, then the attorney needs to consider setting up a Medicare set aside fund to protect Medicare’s interests moving forward.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation.