Don’t sign. If the railroad has asked you to sign some legal papers, seek legal counsel before you proceed. Some railroad companies have acted reprehensibly in these scenarios, so it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel before signing away anything.
Two umbrella categories can be used to describe how and why derailments occur: technological malfunction (which includes machinery which unexpectedly fails and unkempt, dangerous tracks) and human error (such as mistakes made by the conductor or engineer, inattentiveness or otherwise). It should be emphasized that both of these things are bound to happen with time. Humans, even when well trained and highly qualified, are going to make errors. And in a system like our railroad system, technological errors and malfunctions are bound to occasionally take place.
The specifics of your case determine the answer to this question. It is generally in your best interest to contact an experienced railroad accident lawyer to help you decide what actions to take if you have been injured.
A successful lawsuit against a railroad will show that it is liable for injury or wrongful death. When the railroad is shown to be liable, it is responsible for compensatory damages – things like medical expenses, income lost from the accident, loss of family, loss of physical ability, social and educational experiences, emotional damages such as embarrassment, stress, and depression, decreased enjoyment of life, and other possible losses.
The answer to this question is complicated, and the specifics of any particular case are going to be constrained by a variety of factors. For one, it is important to know that federal law preempts state law. If federal law claims that a train was going an appropriate speed, then typically no state law can successfully be used to argue that a train was going too fast. However, matters often get quite complicated in the relationship between the laws.
The answer is dependent on your local jurisdiction. If you are the surviving relative of a train accident victim, then you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of your loved one. If the victim had a personal injury claim against the railroad for the accident before death, then the personal representative or the executor of the victim’s estate may be able to bring that lawsuit on behalf of the estate. To find out specifics about your jurisdiction, contact an experienced railroad accident attorney.
Train accident litigation is a complicated legal arena. It is in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney in this area of law. Intense investigation is almost always needed to ensure a successful case. Because of this, it is imperative to act quickly, to ensure that securing evidence and the interviewing of witnesses can be undertaken by your attorney. If you are unsure, you are welcomed to contact our train accident attorneys and set up a free initial consultation to discuss your options.
There are reasonable limits, yes. The railroad is not required to absolutely guarantee safety in any and all circumstances – highly unpredictable circumstances or accidents may fall outside of railroad responsibility. Passengers also must conduct themselves reasonably, by following railroad safety rules and not exposing themselves to dangerous conditions while the safe alternatives are accessible.
Railroad companies have no responsibilities greater than they do towards their passengers. Railroads are considered “common carriers” – meaning that they offer transportation services to the public at large for a set fee. Common carriers are extremely liable for injuries to their own passengers, sometimes including injuries brought upon by third parties, depending on the circumstances.
Far too common. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 2,384 crossing collisions in 2008 alone. Operation Lifesaver estimates that a crossing collision occurs roughly once per two hours in the U.S. The statistics are alarmingly high. The fatalities generated by these tragic accidents run high – 797 in 2008 were killed, while 8,371 were injured.
Alarmed? We are too. That’s why we’re fighting hard to change an industry where bare safety technology is usually not even implemented, and for the victims of this industry.