The Federal Railroad Administration has reported that railroad accident fatalities have risen over the past ten years with 888 deaths in 2017. The majority of those who died in train accidents were considered trespassers. The Train and rail accident attorneys from SMT Legal know that train accident injuries can be devastating and extremely expensive.
Train accident injuries can be life changing, especially when injuries are debilitating or fatal. Injuries can lead to a temporary or permanent inability to work, which means that reliable income may suddenly and unexpectedly be lost. In order to receive compensation for train accident injuries, it is necessary to determine the cause of the train accident and then liability.
Causes of accidents
Just like car accidents and plane accidents, there can be many causes or a culmination of causes that lead to train accidents. Some common train accident causes are listed below.
- Distracted operator
- Fatigued operator
- Poor safety and operation training
- Lack of safety equipment
- Train defects
- Poor maintenance of train or tracks
- Broken signals
- Obstructions on tracks including vehicles, animals, and pedestrians
- Incorrect switch position
Train accident injuries and damages
Injuries from train accidents may be minimal bumps and bruises from a rough stop or light collision, or they can be very serious such as broken bones, severed limbs, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and death. When you are injured in a train accident caused by someone else’s fault, your compensation may include medical bills, disability, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage. In the case of fatal injuries, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate.
Wrongful death claim
In Pennsylvania when a death is caused by someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct, a wrongful death claim may be brought on behalf of certain family members. When a loved one dies, their family members may sustain significant losses such as loss of companionship and guidance, loss of financial support, and funeral expenses. Additionally, in some circumstances a survival action may be brought on behalf of the decedent’s estate to recover for the injuries and damages the decedent suffered before he or she died. These recoveries are only available in certain circumstances that should be discussed with an attorney.
Train accidents always involve insurance companies, which often adds another layer of difficulty. The good thing about insurance companies is that they do have money to pay for your injuries, the bad thing is that they typically do everything they can to pay less than the amount you deserve. The defendant’s insurance company will likely call you to interview you about the accident and your resulting injuries. They may use any of your statements against you in order to reduce their liability and your claim amount and for this reason, our train accident attorneys recommend that you do not speak with insurance companies until after you have consulted an attorney.