Arkansas Train Accident Lawyer
Experienced Train Accident Attorney Serving Clients in Arkansas
Railway companies need to be concerned about public safety in Arkansas and to take steps to prevent serious injuries in train collisions and derailments. Train accidents happen much too frequently because of railroad company negligence. Railroads are supposed to ensure that passengers are safe from injuries in a derailment, and that train maintenance or faulty tracks do not lead to the serious or fatal injury of a pedestrian or passenger vehicle occupant. However, public safety remains a serious concern around train tracks and on passenger trains throughout Arkansas.
When another party’s negligence results in a serious train accident, it is important for the victims to learn more about filing a claim for financial compensation. Were you recently injured in a train collision or derailment? You may be eligible to file a lawsuit and should discuss your case with a Arkansas train accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Do Train Accidents Happen in Arkansas?
As a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) explains, the law gives trains the right of way “because they cannot swerve, stop quickly, or change directions to avert collisions.” However, just because trains have the right of way does not mean that railroad companies and train employees are not liable for accidents and injuries. To be sure, some of the most common causes of train accidents in Arkansas and throughout the country include but are not limited to the following:
- Train conductor negligent or careless behavior (such as disobeying train speed limits, distracted driving, drowsy driving, or even drunk driving);
- Signal operator negligence;
- Switch operator negligence;
- Brake operator negligence;
- Failure to properly maintain rails or tracks;
- Failure to properly maintain train cars, motors, or other train parts; and
- Defective train components.
Sometimes motorists and pedestrians also bear some responsibility for train crashes. For example, a Newsweek article notes that numerous pedestrian deaths in train accidents result from trespassing. In other instances, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists may disobey oncoming train warnings, assuming that they “outrun” a train, so to speak. In many collisions and derailments, however, the railway company bears at least a portion of the blame.
Comparative Fault or Contributory Negligence in a Arkansas Train Accident
In many civil suits involving personal injury, the defendant will bring up comparative fault or contributory negligence as a defense. In short, comparative fault and contributory negligence are theories of law concerning the plaintiff’s responsibility, or liability, for her injuries.
Depending on where your Arkansas train accident occurred, you should understand how comparative fault might affect your case. Under Arkansas law, as long as a plaintiff is less than 50 percent at fault, she can still recover. Her damages will be reduced, however, by the proportion or percentage of her fault.
What do we mean when we say the award will be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault? For example, if a jury awards a total of $100,000 but says a plaintiff is 20 percent at fault, then the plaintiff’s award will be reduced by 20 percent, or $20,000. In this scenario, the plaintiff would recover $80,000.
Filing Your Claim within the Statute of Limitations
Arkansas law has a three-year statute of limitations for train accident cases. As such, you must file your claim within three years from the date of the accident in order to remain eligible for compensation.
Depending on the specific facts of your case, you also may be able to file a claim in federal court. An experienced Arkansas train accident attorney can discuss the difference between state and federal court claims with you, and the implications for filing in each.
You should keep in mind that our firm does not handle FELA claims, and that the longer statute of limitations in these cases is not applicable to individuals who have suffered injuries as passengers, motorists, or pedestrians in train collisions or derailments. An Arkansas train accident attorney can say more.
Contact a Train Accident Lawyer in Arkansas
If you suffered injuries in a train accident, you may be able to file a train accident lawsuit. A Arkansas train accident attorney can help with your claim. Contact Pottroff & Karlin to get started on your lawsuit.