There are many different factors that can lead to train accidents. Weather problems, conductor problems, and equipment problems are just a few.
Hardware problems could include roadbed wear and tear, incorrect geometry on the track, faulty anchors or joints between the bars and the rails, or malfunction with the switches or other track appliances. Some common types of train accidents include:
- Head-on collisions with another train;
- Collisions with automobiles; and/or
- Pedestrian-train accidents.
Most train accident lawsuits involve passenger trains. However, train accident claims can also involve other similar forms of railroad transportation, including subways, trolleys, cable cars, trams, and monorails. The term “train accident” can sometimes be broadened to include various other accidents, including:
- Accidents occurring at a train station;
- Electrocution incidents (especially with the tracks); and/or
- Slip and fall incidents.
Train accident injuries can be very serious, and can involve injuries to the head, neck, spine, and other areas. Some incidents can involve fatalities, especially in derailments and head-on collisions.
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Who Can be Liable for a Train Accident?
Liability for train accidents can be attributed to various parties. The exact allocation of liability will of course depend on the facts involved in each train accident case. Parties that can sometimes be held liable for train accidents include:
- Train conductors (especially for negligent operation of a train);
- Train operating companies and their personnel; and/or
- Manufacturers of train parts or rail parts (especially for parts or components that were defective).
Also, victims of a train accident can sometimes be found liable in part for their own injuries. An example of this is where train/car accident occurs because the driver of the car was driving while intoxicated.
What Claims Can Be Brought for Train Accidents?
Hardware problems with a train can also lead to train accidents. If a person was injured as a result of problems with a trailer, container, draft system, wheels, doors, track parts, axles, wheel bearings, or general electrical system failures, there are legal avenues available to recover damages.
First the victim must decide who to bring the suit against. The train owner or conductor may be the first obvious candidates, but there are other possibilities as well.
If the accident occurred because of faulty parts, the manufacturer of the parts could be liable. Mechanics and maintenance operators can be held liable if they made mistakes or oversights in their work that led to the train accident.
Finally, train accidents can occur when the train is being loaded, at a crossing, or in other dangerous conditions such as inclement weather. If employees were negligent during these unusual conditions, a victim can recover monetary damages in a tort action.
What Legal Remedies Exist?
Monetary damages for pain and suffering are the most common kind of remedy for victims of a train accident. Besides seeking damages for the cost of medical care, victims can also seek compensation for pain and suffering, hospital expenses, and traumatic aftereffects.
This also includes lost work or other income that occurred as a direct result of the accident. Cases involving wrongful deaths may also involve additional damages calculations.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Train Accident Case?
Train companies have large legal teams to represent them, so it is important to have a personal injury attorney available to represent you in your injury claim. Personal injury lawyers can provide representation as they are experienced with recovering personal damages for individuals.