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Have You Been in a Railroad Accident? Know Your Rights and Options

Sep 20, 2023

Though railroad accidents may seem like relatively rare occurrences, you might be surprised at just how often they happen. Data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) shows that there are — on average — around three train derailments each day in the U.S., and that doesn’t even count the variety of other forms of train crashes that regularly take place.

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Should you end up injured in a railroad accident, your first step should be to consult a railroad accident attorney. They can build a solid case, helping ensure that you’re compensated for your injuries and other costs associated with the crash.

Types of Railroad Accidents

The FRA keeps a close eye on how railroad accidents occur. Understanding how train accidents often play out is important, both for officials and train accident lawyers, and monitoring the most common railroad accident types helps uncover trends wherein public safety is most at risk.

As for you, information about the type of accident you were involved in is necessary for building a case for railroad accident injury compensation. With that said, the most common railroad accidents take the following forms:

Derailments

According to FRA data, derailments are the most common type of railroad accident. Derailments occur when a train comes off of its rails, and such a scenario can happen for several reasons. The most common causes of train derailments are believed to be poorly maintained tracks, operator error, and taking curves at exceedingly high speeds.

Highway-Rail Crossing

A highway-rail crossing is an official term for any place in which a railroad track intersects with a city street at ground level. Crash data from the FRA shows that highway-rail crossing accidents are the second most common type of train accident., and they usually occur when trains collide with motor vehicles.

Sometimes, these accidents happen due to a lack of proper warnings, such as an absence of lights and guardrails or due to malfunctioning crossings. They can also occur when drivers disregard clear warnings of an oncoming train.

Collisions

Two trains will often collide when they’re traveling in opposite directions on the same track, and though they aren’t nearly as common as derailments or railroad crossing accidents, they still occur with relative frequency. Collisions are nearly always the result of human error in the areas of planning train routes and communication between train companies or operators.

Obstruction

Data shows that obstructions make for the least common type of train accidents. Nevertheless, they happen when a train collides with an object blocking the tracks, such as a fallen tree. Thankfully, they can usually be avoided by properly maintaining and monitoring railroad tracks for such safety hazards.

Determining Liability After a Train Accident

If you sustained an injury in a train accident, you can recover compensation for the damages you encounter. However, your railroad accident lawyer must first build a case proving who was at fault for the crash; in legal terms, they must determine liability. Only then can the liable party can be made to pay for the resulting damages.

For example, if you were injured in a railroad crossing accident, a lawyer may be able to use data about similar past accidents to build a case showing how the railroad company has a history of allowing such accidents to happen.

Compensation and Damages

Once liability is established, the responsible party has a legal obligation to pay for damages associated with the crash that caused your injuries. After a train accident, you can recover compensation for such things as:

  • Medical bills
  • Therapist bills
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical devices
  • Attendant care
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Emotional damages

Generally, the more severe the injuries, the higher the compensation value you’re eligible to receive. If you lost a loved one in a railroad accident, a railroad accident lawyer can help you recover compensation through a wrongful death claim.

The Statute of Limitations: How It Could Impact Your Eligibility to Attain Compensation

There are time limits to how long you have to take legal action to pursue compensation for railroad accident injuries. These time limits are different in every state, but in Wyoming, the general time limit is four years.

Be that as it may, certain circumstances may leave you facing a much shorter timeframe. If you’re a railroad worker, it’s essential to retain a railroad accident attorney as soon as possible, or you could lose out on the chance to recover the money you’re rightfully owed.

The Role of a Railroad Accident Attorney

It’s important to engage a lawyer as soon as possible after the railroad accident, as only they will be able to establish a case for you.

Your attorney will need to visit the scene so they can take photos and preserve evidence proving whose negligence ultimately caused the crash, and once they establish liability, they will set to work establishing your case value.

They’ll look into all aspects of how a railroad accident has impacted your health, finances, and general well-being. They will also collect documentation showing your costs and losses and use all of their gatherings to negotiate with the railroad company or their insurance provider to secure an adequate settlement for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Railroad Accident Compensation

Who Pays for Train Accident Injuries?

Whoever is found liable for a train accident will pay for the victim’s compensation. When that party is a railroad company, compensation is usually dealt with and paid out through the company’s insurance policy.

How Do I Find the Right Railroad Accident Lawyer?

Any type of personal injury lawyer can take on a train accident case, but to guarantee the best results, you should look for a lawyer who has experience working with railroad accident cases.

How Much Do Railroad Accident Lawyers Cost?

Railroad accident lawyers usually work on a contingency fee basis, which means you should only have to pay for your lawyer’s representation if they win your case. The money that you owe to your attorney will be taken as a sum out of the total amount of your compensation.

Don’t Wait to Consult a Railroad Accident Lawyer

The Spence Law Firm knows what it takes to recover fair compensation for railroad accident injuries, so contact our firm today to speak with an experienced railroad accident lawyer.

Schedule a free consultation with The Spence Law Firm, LLC

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If you are struggling with a serious injury, or are fighting against seemingly impossible odds against big corporations, insurance companies or the government, call us to speak with our team of trial lawyers who will fight for you. We take no fee unless we earn it by winning your case.