Railroad accidents are relatively rare but can be among the most horrible accidents that can occur. Accidents involving passenger trains can cause serious injury to dozens, if not hundreds of people and millions of dollars in property damage.
These kinds of accidents are a big deal and can require legal action from those that have been injured because of them. The train company could be liable for these injuries and property damage if they were negligent in ensuring the train was safe to operate.
For this page, we will go through the likely causes of train accidents, what “common carriers” are, and the ins and outs of what can be done legally if you were injured in a railroad accident.
What Are Common Carriers?
Common carriers are transportation vehicles that are used to move goods or passengers using defined schedules and routes. Common carriers can include railroads, cruise ships, airlines, busses, subways and other various transportation entities.
It is the legal duty of a common carrier to ensure that whatever people or cargo they are carrying safely arrive at their destinations. These common carriers are liable for any injuries to the people riding it if the accident could have been prevented through better care and preparation. This especially includes trains of all kinds because of how much damage they can cause if an accident occurs.
Common Causes Of Railroad Accidents
There are a few things that can cause railroad accidents that the railroad or the train manufacturer can be held liable for such as:
- Mechanical failures
- Electrical failures
- Track/roadbed issues
- Lack of proper maintenance
- Communication issues between trains
- Conductor inexperience or fatigue
Railroad accidents can be caused by a combination of multiple of these issues and it is important to note exactly what went wrong when building a personal injury case in the event of these incidents. It is imperative that you contact an attorney if you discover any of these problems were the cause of a railroad accident you or your loved one was injured in.
Types Of Injuries That Can Occur From Railroad Accidents
Railroad accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries that can be mild or very severe. Any of these injuries can gain you compensation if they happened because of a railroad accident. Some common injuries are:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal injuries or paralysis
- Loss of limbs
All of these injuries can land you a trip to the hospital and if you or a loved one suffered these because of a train accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible to gather all the details necessary to build a case.
Railroad Accident Lawsuits
A railroad accident lawsuit will begin once a complaint goes into the court that holds jurisdiction over it. These lawsuits are usually done like civil lawsuits where there is a large group of people that were affected by the accident. These lawsuits can last a long time before they are completely finished.
The trial itself is held much like a normal trial though, where evidence is shared and the railroad company is given a chance to dispute any claims against their negligence. Once the trial is finished, a verdict is given and, if the railroad company is found liable, settlements are set by economic experts.
Oftentimes, when a railroad accident occurs, it is settled out of court. Usually the train company is looking to avoid any more negative press than they are already getting and will look to offer a settlement to those that were affected by the accident.
Settlements allow all parties involved to avoid the risks and expenses involved lawsuits and many large companies will offer these after an accident they know they were at fault in. These settlement negotiations can take place before, after, or potentially during lawsuits involving these accidents.
Generally, the train company will discuss some kind of monetary offer that will cover the expenses caused by the accident. Many people will take these settlements to avoid a drawn-out lawsuit, however, it is possible that a jury could award a much higher compensation if the company is taken to court. Again, this is an important topic to discuss with an expert lawyer in this subject.
There may be a railroad accident case where their liability will be capped despite further damages. In November, 2015, America’s Congress capped the liability for passenger railroad accidents to $294,278,983.
Unfortunately, for the more catastrophic railroad accidents, the damages and injuries will exceed this cap by millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars. So, if you or a loved one were part of a railroad accident that caused many severe injuries or excessive property damage, keep in mind that your compensation may be capped by federal law.
If you are an employee that was injured as a result of a railroad accident, you are subject to a completely different settlement and lawsuit process.
Most railroad workers will be covered by the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) which is fairly similar to train accident lawsuits done by passengers. Although, a FELA claim has something known as a “featherweight burden of proof” which requires federal action and will make your settlement easier to achieve. Also, FELA claims have another advantage in that, they are not factored into the liability cap.
Contact Trusted Lawyers For Railroad Accident Injuries
Railroad accidents can turn into big news and can be very intimidating to deal with on your own. These are best left in the hands of expert attorneys that are capable of getting the best compensation for you or your loved ones’ injuries.
Law Leaders is a legal organization that can do just that and they are available to help victims of railroad accidents discover the expert lawyers they need. The dedicated team at Law Leaders can provide Americans injured in train accidents the services needed to get the settlement they need to get by after such a horrible incident.
Contact Law Leaders today for more information!