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  1. #1
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    Mom gets run down by train when baby stroller gets stuck

    I used to watch '1000 Ways to Die' and figured these stories were all just made up. But here's another one.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,7434184.story

    What in the world? Why she didn't just grab her baby from the stroller and run is perplexing. It's like a bad 80s horror movie, where you are screaming at the screen for their stupidity. "Grab the baby! Run! Don't just stand there over and over trying to free the stroller!"

    At least the baby survived and will never have to worry about her mother putting her life in danger again.
    Last edited by Louise; 10-10-2011 at 04:57 PM.

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    (((( Deceased, her child, and her family )))) She obviously panicked in not just leaving the entangled stroller behind.

    But, yeh, she shouldn't have started crossing against the warning lights and arm to begin with ... and then, should've turned back after the initial stroller/tracks problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefcake View Post
    (((( Deceased, her child, and her family )))) She obviously panicked in not just leaving the entangled stroller behind.

    But, yeh, she shouldn't have started crossing against the warning lights and arm to begin with ... and then, should've turned back after the initial stroller/tracks problem.
    Here's betting a lawsuit against the city, Metrolink, etc. is in the offing.

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    Oy vey, probably. For not having a solid wall that comes down at the cross for people who choose to ignore the warning bells and whistles, or for not having a person there to pull her back, or for not having brakes on their trains that can stop an X-tons locomotive on a dime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    What in the world? Why she didn't just grab her baby from the stroller and run is perplexing. It's like a bad 80s horror movie, where you are screaming at the screen for their stupidity. "Grab the baby! Run! Don't just stand there over and over trying to free the stroller!"

    At least the baby survived and will never have to worry about her mother putting her life in danger again.
    Blunt comments, but right on the mark. It's tragic that the mother died, but it's because of her own reckless behavior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefcake View Post
    Oy vey, probably. For not having a solid wall that comes down at the cross for people who choose to ignore the warning bells and whistles, or for not having a person there to pull her back, or for not having brakes on their trains that can stop an X-tons locomotive on a dime.
    I think they can only sue if there was an actual mechanical problem, which there doesn't seem to be. The safety arms came down as they should, the conductor saw her, blew the horn, and tried to stop. It takes more than a mile for a full-loaded freight train to stop. Not sure about a passenger train, but it sure ain't a car!

    If it's stupid to even drive your car around the safety arms when they're down, it's moronically stupid to walk a baby stroller around them. It's unfortunate that this woman paid with her life and that her child will grow up without a mother because of her stupidity, but it is what it is.

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    I suppose the family can file a lawsuit, anyone can sue for anything. But there are many eyewitnesses that saw her completely disregard the gate and alarm lights. I just don't see what more the railway company could have reasonably done. Most people, especially ones walking with a baby stroller, would heed the warnings.

    It's just hard to imagine something like this happening. Do people not think they won't be harmed when breaking rules? The one time I ever crossed over a RR with the lights and whistles and gates on, I had been sitting there for over 5 minutes and there was still no sign of a train. I figured the crossing apparati were messed up. So I made the decision to drive around the arms. BUT, before I did, I made sure the door was unlocked, the window was open, I was not locked in with my seatbelt, I didn't accidentally tie my shoelaces to the brake, etc. It took all of ten seconds to plan for disaster, in case that one and only time my car decides to break down happens when I'm straddled on a RR track with a train coming. This woman just showed no foresight. And the fact that the stroller got stuck THREE times just shows how less than intelligent she was. After it got stuck the first time, I'd be thinking maybe it's better to turn back, or just PICK UP the stroller, or get the baby unfastened if needed. Unless she secured that baby with duct tape into the stroller, she should have easily gotten the baby out and made a run for it.

    A sad sad story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    I think they can only sue if there was an actual mechanical problem, which there doesn't seem to be.
    Nope, as long as there is a lawyer who takes the case, people can sue. And I am betting the manufacturer of the stroller, as well as the City and train, will be named. I further bet that rather than go to court and run up costs, the insurance companies will settle for a few hundred thousand or so.

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    Er, I was listing outlandishly ridiculous possible lawsuits. I don't really think that there should be a solid wall that comes down at that intersection. Of course, a lawyer may argue that anyway.

    ITA that, if the scenario is as reported, this woman indeed did pay for her stubbornness/foolishness/aloofness with her life ... no negligence on anyone else's part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    Nope, as long as there is a lawyer who takes the case, people can sue. And I am betting the manufacturer of the stroller, as well as the City and train, will be named. I further bet that rather than go to court and run up costs, the insurance companies will settle for a few hundred thousand or so.
    Of course people can sue if they can get a lawyer, but it would take a judge to actually look at it and not just throw it out for uselessness. They do do that at times...

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    I agree with all who said that what she did was really stupid. The saddest thing about it is that it was 100% preventable. I think I did that a few times (went under the gate) when I was a teenager, but I would never do it now. Especially if I had a child with me.

    I feel bad for everyone involved: the woman (it was pure stupidity but she didn't deserve to die for it); her baby; their family, but also the conductor and people on the train.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Of course people can sue if they can get a lawyer, but it would take a judge to actually look at it and not just throw it out for uselessness. They do do that at times...
    Judges very rarely throw these cases out, and if so, only after discovery, depositions, motions, etc., all of which are expensive. It is far more likely insurers will elect to settle in a case of this type, prior to running up legal bills.

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    this was on the local news last night, but they didn't mention that the safety bars had already started coming down. They just went on and on about a "mother's ultimate sacrifice". I think that would apply if this were a case of getting a baby out of a burning building, or from a car wreck, but this was a tragic and entirely preventable incident.

    And I feel very sorry for the conductor of the train, who must be completely traumatised.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WindSpirit View Post
    I agree with all who said that what she did was really stupid. The saddest thing about it is that it was 100% preventable. I think I did that a few times (went under the gate) when I was a teenager, but I would never do it now. Especially if I had a child with me.

    I feel bad for everyone involved: the woman (it was pure stupidity but she didn't deserve to die for it); her baby; their family, but also the conductor and people on the train.
    It was stupid, but people do stupid things everyday. We don't know if the mom had thought that she would have missed work, missed a doctor's appointment, etc. Or thought that she had never had any problems when crossing tracks before so why now? Or had done this a several times before and never had an issue. As to getting the baby out of the stroller and getting out of the way - sometimes those stroller straps are unmanageable and difficult to open without the fear of a train coming at you.

    I feel for the train conductor - even if someone causes their own death from their own stupidity, he has be undergoing tremendous PSTD

    I hope that no one takes a potential lawsuit seriously.

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    This is very sad for all parties involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    Judges very rarely throw these cases out, and if so, only after discovery, depositions, motions, etc., all of which are expensive. It is far more likely insurers will elect to settle in a case of this type, prior to running up legal bills.
    Depends on who was at fault. People like to cite the case of the hot McDonald's coffee, but it was really McDonald's fault for giving the woman third degree burns because they kept the water that hot. There was no good reason for the water to be so dangerously hot. Even if you were clumsy enough to spill it on yourself.

    So unless the city agrees to the Metrolink tracks away from all residential areas (and who's gonna pay for that?), I don't really think they have a case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louise View Post
    . . .I suppose the family can file a lawsuit, anyone can sue for anything. But there are many eyewitnesses that saw her completely disregard the gate and alarm lights.
    Couldn't they have intervened or at least ran up to the gate and told her to take the baby out of the darn stroller? Where were the Good Samaritans that day? She obviously did panic, hard to imagine someone being that stupid.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    Judges very rarely throw these cases out, and if so, only after discovery, depositions, motions, etc., all of which are expensive. It is far more likely insurers will elect to settle in a case of this type, prior to running up legal bills.
    I think it's a bit of a myth that you can just sue willy nilly and expect some time of settlement from insurance companies just because they want to avoid litigation.

    From what I've seen of actual cases, insurance companies don't disburse settlements in the hundreds of thousans unless there's an *extremely* good reason. What I see more is insurance companies play hardball, do things like countersue the plaintiff, and basically make it financially difficult if not impossible for them to continue unless the plaintiffs are very wealthy. I don't actually know of many lawyers who would take on such a suit because even on a contingency basis, the plaintiff is still on the hook for costs, and those can be substantial. Unless the lawyer thinks they have a slamdunk case, they don't usually waste their time.

    I know a *lot* of cases where people sued because of perceived negligence. In virtually all those cases, they won nothing. In some cases, they had to spend money they didn't have to close things up without any type of settlement.

    Maybe it's watching too many Hollywood law and order tv shows that gives people the opposite impression, but the reality of legal settlements is a far cry from that.


    WRT this particular case, my guess is the baby was buckled in the stroller, and that can be difficult to undo quickly. Pulling/pushing the stroller may have seemed the quickest way of dealing with being stuck once that happened. Obviously one shouldn't haul a stroller in front of a moving train though.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    I think it's a bit of a myth that you can just sue willy nilly and expect some time of settlement from insurance companies just because they want to avoid litigation.
    Yes and no. I work in the field and there are cases of railroad accidents reminiscent of this woman's, that have resulted in settlements. (One involved an attempted suicide on the NYC subway tracks.) Depending on the venue, insurers generally do not wish to go to court in these type of "heart-rending" situations, i.e., young mothers dying. After considering the artfulness of the pleading and the skill of the attorney, a lot of insurers would hire their own law firms, who might settle to avoid a long discovery process -- although I agree insurers should stand firm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post

    And I feel very sorry for the conductor of the train, who must be completely traumatised.
    Terribly, I'm sure. I know with Amtrak with a car-train or pedestrian-train collision and fatality, the cab crew is given the option of switching out and getting a replacement to finish the trip if they feel too upset to continue. It must be horrible to see it coming and know that there is NOTHING you can do to stop it. Trains can't stop on a dime.

    The commuter rail line that crossed Moody Street near where I lived in MA had little pedestrian gates that came down over the sidewalks, just in case people didn't get the hint. Around here the Amtrak crossing have signs warning of high-speed trains--ie, the express from Kalamazoo to Chicago is going VERY FAST and as such trips the gates a long way off, so just because you cannot see it from your car does not mean it's not coming.

    Cupid--maybe the bystanders yelled at her, but they'd have to be suicidal idiots to run out on the tracks after her.

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