Train crashes in the news tend to be dramatic events in which two trains collide or several cars derail, potentially spilling hazardous materials and injuring numerous passengers. However, there are thousands of railroad accidents each year, many of which go largely unnoticed by the public.
Railroad accidents take many forms, including:
- A collision between two trains
- A train derailing
- A train-motor vehicle collision
- A pedestrian being struck by a train
The victims of train accident may include:
- Passengers on the train
- Drivers or passengers of a motor vehicle
- Passengers disembarking from or waiting to board a train
In the case of a hazardous materials spill or other large-scale railroad disaster, people not in direct proximity to the train may also sustain injuries. For example, those in homes near the railroad may suffer chemical exposure.
Damages in Train Crash Cases
As in any other area of personal injury law, the damages awarded in a particular case will depend on the specifics of the injury and a variety of other factors. For example, in a case in which a train collided with a motor vehicle and the railroad was at fault, damages might include:
- Medical expenses and anticipated future medical costs
- Lost income and projected lost earning capacity
- Property damage, such as destruction of the vehicle
- Costs of rehabilitation or therapy
- Pain and suffering
If the driver or a passenger in the vehicle is killed in the accident, it may give rise to a wrongful death claim.
Railroad Crossing Accidents
Only a small percentage of train accidents involve passenger trains, and an even smaller number involve release of hazardous materials. The greatest danger connected with railroads across the country involves railroad crossings. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a person or vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours.
These accidents result in hundreds of railroad crossing fatalities and thousands of injuries annually. An even greater number of trespassers are killed by trains each year.
Train Accident Cases Can Be Complicated
In a typical car accident or other personal injury case, the case is governed by state law and the injured party generally has two years in which to file a lawsuit for damages. However, determining the right venue and process for pursuing a train crash claim may be more difficult. Hiring the right Attorney can help determine liability and filing statutes specific to you.
A pedestrian injured by a freight train or a driver whose car is struck by an Amtrak train will be subject to federal law, including restrictions on aggregate liability for a crash. However, a passenger or bystander injured as the result of negligence on the L.A. METRO will have recourse against the city in a case governed by state law. In claims against governmental agencies, much stricter deadlines typically apply.
Talk to a Railroad Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a train accident, you can’t afford to delay representation. Railroad accident cases are complicated, and in many cases you will be required to act quickly to preserve your claim. Take the first step right now by contacting us for a free consultation.