Train accidents are more common than the average person knows and they truly tend to bring about deadly and traumatic consequences. Studies have shown that there are 5,800 train-vehicle crashes each year in the United States alone, accounting for up to 1,000 deaths. Common problems include derailments, mechanical failures and collisions with other trains, cars and even pedestrians. And while train companies are constantly upgrading equipment and safety procedures to reduce these numbers, there is still plenty of room for improvement—a scary realization when one realizes just how dangerous they can be.
Victims from these accidents can sustain extremely traumatic injuries, which include third degree burns, injuries to the spinal cord and even brain damage. Yet many do not get the medical care that they deserve, or the assistance they need to live a comfortable life. Even if you have a completely understandable reason to go up against a railroad company, they tend to be extremely combative. Most are large corporations with teams of lawyers that excel at deflecting blame, often arguing that tracks have been vandalized, or that the victims themselves are responsible. It’s a sad truth that is all too common. So what should you do if you’ve been a victim of a train accident?
Firstly, you should take care of locating and preserving any evidence that you can find. Whether they are eyewitness accounts, medical records or even damaged property, it’s much better to have proof of malfeasance and not need it than to need it and not have it. Secondly, especially if your car was involved in a train collision, you should contact your insurance company. Take advantage of every resource at your disposal and do not settle for anything less than you deserve. These accidents occur for many reasons, from human error to track and signal defects, but in most of these instances, a third party can absolutely be held liable; as a victim, you should understand what your legal options are.
If you believe that an individual, like an engineer or some other railroad employee, was responsible, and therefore liable for the crash, you should file a personal injury claim. They must have been in a position to directly prevent the accident from occurring to be liable—a stipulation that can be quite difficult to substantiate without professional assistance, either from law enforcement officials, or legal counsel.
If you believe that a train company, manufacturer, track owner or material vendor was responsible, you might be able to hold the company itself liable, and claim damages for property loss, medical bills or even loss of wages, depending on the circumstances. Families, who have lost a loved one, can also file a wrongful death claim if they feel the organization is directly responsible. In any of these scenarios, having a personal injury attorney that you can trust is paramount to building a successful case.
Stewart & Stewart has the skills and resources you need to track down relevant evidence, locate witnesses and successfully negotiate with difficult insurance companies. We consult with expert mechanics and government agencies to ensure our clients get the best representation possible. Whether it’s a personal injury claim, a negligence claim or even a wrongful death lawsuit, we have the expertise and passion to get you the results you deserve. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website.