Premises liability holds property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that happened on their property. This includes any accidents or injuries that occurred in and around their business, or home.
Premises liability law requires that property owners ensure the safety of any person who enters their property, and that they take all reasonable measures in order to accomplish this. As a legal concept, premises liability is generally associated with personal injury cases in which a person’s injury was caused by unsafe or defective conditions on someone else’s property.
These claims are most often based on the legal concept of negligence, which refers to a person failing to exercise reasonable care. That failure results in the damage or injury of another person. Negligence addresses a person’s failure to take certain precautions and actions, as opposed to the person’s direct actions.
In order to prove negligence, and therefore premises liability, the plaintiff must prove all of the following elements:
- The owner owed a duty of care to the visitor or person who was injured on their property;
- There was a dangerous, unsafe, or defective condition present on the owner’s property;
- The owner knew of the condition but failed to remedy the situation; and
- That the injury occurred because of the owner’s failure to exercise their duty of care to prevent the accident and resulting injury.
A duty of care is generally owed to another person in any situation in which a person may foreseeably be injured because of another’s actions or inaction. A breach of this duty occurs when the property owner does not act as reasonably or prudent as another person would under the same circumstances.
As such, it must be proven that the property owner’s negligence was the “actual and proximate” cause of the injuries being claimed. Once the other three elements have been proven, the plaintiff must then prove that there was some quantifiable loss or damage resulting from the property owner’s negligence.
Who Can Be Held Liable Under Premises Liability?
Landowner liability is largely dependent upon the tort liability status of the victim. Tort liability refers to who is responsible for damage, harm, or injury. A victim may be liable if they contributed to their own injury in addition to the actions of the property owner and their negligence.
The tort liability scale can be broken down as follows:
- Invitees: Customers or patrons who have been invited onto the property by the owner. As such, the property owner has a duty to warn all invitees of risks that they are aware of, and if the risk of harm is considered to be unreasonable. The property owner has an additional duty to inspect the premises in order to make themselves aware of any risks;
- Licensees: Social guests that have entered or remained on the property for purposes other than business. These guests have special permission to do something on, or with, the property owner’s property. The property owner is then responsible for warning licensees of dangerous conditions that they are aware of; and
- Trespassers: People who have entered or remained on the premises without the permission of the property owner. State laws that govern trespassing can vary considerably; in general, a property owner does not have a duty to warn the trespasser of dangerous conditions. This is especially true if the property owner is unaware of the trespasser’s presence. However, it is important to note that property owners do have a duty to warn known or tolerated trespassers of any dangerous conditions.
Special duties apply to child trespassers in that property owners must take additional precautions in order to prevent harm to child trespassers. This is because of the attractive nuisance doctrine. What this means is that if the property owner has something on their property that would attract children to use it, such as playground equipment, they have a legal obligation to take reasonable precautions in order to ensure that it is safe because it is likely to attract children.
What Causes Train Accidents?
In terms of what causes train accidents, there are numerous examples. Inclement weather, issues associated with the conductor, and equipment problems are just some of these examples.
Some common examples of issues associated with hardware include:
- Roadbed wear and tear;
- Incorrect geometry on the track;
- Faulty anchors and/or joints between the bars and the rails; and
- Malfunction associated with the switches or other track appliances.
Some common examples of train accidents include:
- Head-on collisions with another train;
- Collisions with vehicles; and/or
- Pedestrian-train accidents.
The majority of train accident lawsuits involve passenger trains; however, train accident claims can also involve other forms of railroad transportation, including:
- Cable cars;
- Trams; and
Additionally, the term “train accident” can sometimes be broadened to include various other accidents. Examples of this include:
- Accidents occurring at a train station;
- Electrocution incidents, especially associated with the tracks; and/or
- Slip and fall incidents.
Injuries from these accidents most commonly include injuries to the head, neck, spine, and/ or other areas. Some train accidents can result in fatalities, especially in derailments and head-on collisions.
Who Can Be Held Liable For Train Accident Injuries?
There are many different parties to which liability for train accidents can be attributed. Some examples of the parties that can sometimes be held liable for train accidents include:
- Train conductors, especially for negligent operation of a train;
- Train operating companies, as well as their personnel; and/or
- Manufacturers of train parts or rail parts, especially for parts or components that were defective.
As was previously mentioned, victims of a train accident can sometimes be found liable in part for their own injuries. An example of this would be when a train collides with a car, and the accident occurs because the driver of the car was driving while intoxicated.
If a person was injured as a result of problems with a:
- Draft system;
- Track parts;
- Wheel bearings; and/or
- General electrical system failures, there are legal options available to them in order to recover damages.
If the accident occurred because of faulty parts, the manufacturer of the parts could be held liable. This also applies to mechanics and maintenance operators, if they made mistakes or oversights in their work, which resulted in the train accident.
Train accidents can occur when the train is being loaded, at a crossing, or in other dangerous conditions such as inclement weather. If employees are found to have been negligent during these unusual conditions, the victim can likely recover monetary damages in a tort action.
Are There Any Legal Remedies For Train Accident Injuries?
To reiterate, 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;
- Traumatic aftereffects; and/or
- Lost work or other income as a direct result of the accident. Cases involving wrongful deaths may receive additional damages calculations.
Do I Need A Lawyer For Train Accident Injuries?
If you are experiencing train accident injuries, you should work with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury lawyer in your area can help you understand your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific personal injury laws, specifically premises liability. Additionally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.