What Are Train Accidents And Injuries?
Despite advances in automotive technology, trains remain a popular form of transportation. In busy cities like New York, many people use trains to commute to work or as an economical means of travel. The last thing people expect when riding a train is to become injured in a rail accident or derailment. These accidents can lead to life-threatening injuries or possibly even death.
Although trains are often praised for their safety and reliability, accidents like train-on-train collisions, derailments, obstructions and other types of rail accidents can happen at any time. When a passenger train or freight train is involved in an accident, the passengers as well as people standing nearby can suffer serious injuries.
While a number of factors could cause train accidents and injuries, human error and defective machinery are most common. If you or someone you love has sustained injuries as the result of a rail accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A consultation with an experienced train accident attorney can help you determine if you have a case.
Train Accidents And Injuries Case Settlements
Being injured in a train accident can be devastating. In addition to the physical injuries, victims are often faced with limited mobility, mounting medical expenses and lost wages. With the help of a train derailment lawyer, you may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the responsible business or person.
Compensation from a train accident and injury case settlement can be used to cover a variety of expenses. In addition to money for accident-related medical bills, you may also be able to collect other monies that you are due. These funds can compensate you for pain & suffering, long-term medical care, missed wages and additional expenses incurred as a direct result of the rail accident.
In many cases, your train accident lawyer will have to prove that the negligence or wrongdoing of a conductor, train manufacturer or rail station staff member directly contributed to the train accident or derailment. Causes like a defective track, defective train or defective signal directing device are also common. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)’s office of Safety Analysis, there are 5 main causes of railroad and train accidents. Causes include:
- Equipment malfunctions or defects. This includes broken or defective hand brakes, missing, broken or defective springs, obstructed brake pipes, defective couplers, defective or lose wheels, a bent axle, door defects, overheating, electrical failure, mechanical failure and body defects.
- Human Error
- Signal defects. This may include inoperative railway signals and a malfunctioning railway.
- Track defects. This includes things like surface cracks, transverse fissures and gauge corner cracks.
- Other Miscellaneous Causes
A train accident attorney can assist you in determining of your railroad injuries are the result of negligence.
Train Accidents And Injuries Legal Fees
If you are injured in a train accident, legal fees should not stop you from seeking monetary damages. Most train accident lawyers work on a contingent payment plan. This means that their fees are paid from any financial recoveries you may make. Depending on the payment terms designated by your lawyer, you may not owe anything if your case does not settle.
Train Accident and Injuries Compensation
There are several types of damages that can be pursued in a train accident injury claim. Here is a breakdown of what you may be compensated for:
1. Medical bills. This includes compensation for medical expenses for any injuries that were directly caused by the train accident. This will include things like:
- Hospital stays
- Nursing home stays
- Physical therapy
Compensation for medical expenses will also consider any future medical costs that may be incurred as a result of the injury.
It is worth noting that in some cases you may be required to turn over all or a portion of monies awarded for medical care to your health insurer. This is especially likely if they have been paying your medical bills prior to receiving a damage award or settlement. In some cases, a medical lien may be placed on the anticipated value of your future damage award. This can be done by the health insurer or directly by the providers to ensure that they receive payment when the monies are available.
2. Loss of income. In addition to medical expenses, you can also be compensated for loss of income or lost wages stemming form the accident. This may include payment for work days missed while getting treatment for your injuries. Even if you are able to use sick time or vacation time to cover these days, you may still be able to seek damages for it. In the event that you are permanently unable to work as a result of the injuries you sustained, the award may consider the wages that you would have made over your lifetime. This also holds true if your disability affects your future ability to earn in any way.
3. Pain and suffering. In cases where significant injuries have been sustained, it is not uncommon to receive a large award for pain and suffering. This factor often makes insurance companies more inclined to settle a case outside of court. When calculating a settlement offer, insurance companies will often use a “pain multiplier” technique to determine a fair amount that should be paid for pain and suffering. This formula considered the amount of financial losses and multiplies it by a number deemed appropriate by the insurance company.
4. Wrongful death. In the event that someone becomes fatally wounded during a train accident, their family members may be able to pursue monetary damages. Laws concerning who can file a wrongful death claim vary by state.
5. Loss of consortium/companionship. This is a unique type of damage that can be sought by a family member of someone that was killed or permanently damaged during a train accident. The purpose behind this coverage is to compensate the family for the loss of their relationship with the victim. In many states, a spouse can be compensated if they lose the ability to have intimate physical contact with their injured spouse.
6. Punitive damages. Punitive damages differ from any other type of damage listed here. They are not allowed in all states and do not share the same purpose as the aforementioned types of damage awards. Instead, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish someone for wrongful conduct and serve as a deterrent for this behavior in the future.
Train Accidents and Injuries Claim Process/Case Timeline
When it comes to train accident injury and death claims, each case is unique. There is not a pre-determined amount of time that your case will take. After filing a claim for your railroad injuries, it could take anywhere from several months to years to receive an award. Luckily, your train accident lawyer handles most of the case. You may be called upon from time to time to provide information or give a deposition. If a settlement cannot be reached and the case must go to court, you may be required to testify in court before a decision can be made.
Train Accidents and Injuries Need to Know
If you are injured in a train accident, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. A rail accident attorney can help you determine who is at fault for the accident and seek the money that you are entitled to. If you have endured the death of a loved one during a railroad crossing accident or train car collision, a train accident attorney can ensure that you get what you are due.
Train Accidents And Injuries Laws
Laws relating to filing a train accident injury claim will vary by state. In some cases, the state may specify who can file a claim, specific procedures for its filing and the amount of time that a victim has to file their claim. For information specific to your state, you should consult a local train accident lawyer. They can review the circumstances of your case and determine if you have legal standing to file a claim.
Being involved in a train accident can dramatically affect your life. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a train accident, a train accident attorney can help ensure that you are properly compensated.