An average train traveling at 62 miles per hour needs approximately one-half mile to come to a complete emergency stop. It should be no surprise that sometimes engineers are unable to avoid collisions. In 2016 alone, U.S. railways saw some 8,861 accidents, with 700 of them resulting in fatalities and more than 6,500 involving injuries, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Among the primary causes of these incidents are human error and faulty equipment. When you have experienced a rail-related accident or family member death in Southern California, you should contact a train accident attorney as soon as possible.
Train Accident Definitions
Train accidents take one of three forms, according to FRA:
- An accident that involves on-track railroad equipment and results in financial damage to the equipment or rails
- An event in which a train collides with a highway user who is either in a vehicle or on foot
- The death, injury or job-related illness of a railroad company employee that is unrelated to a train accident or highway-rail incident
Determining Liability for Your Damages
It is likely that the railroad is at least partially responsible when you sustain an injury aboard a train, or as a result of coming into contact with a train. A vehicle with the size, weight, and momentum of a train can cause considerable physical and emotional damage, as well as financial expense. Some of the conditions leading to your injury accident with a train may include:
- Malfunctioning crossing signals/gates
- Failure of the engineer to sound the horn when nearing a crossing
- Failure of the engineer to use lights when nearing a crossing
- Obstructions on the tracks
- Broken or damaged tracks
- Faulty brakes or other equipment failures
- Cargo or other objects protruding outside a freight car
- Cargo overload, resulting in reduced equipment function
When the negligence or intentional actions of railroad employees or equipment manufacturers cause your injury, they are responsible for compensating you for your damages.
Dos and Don’ts Following a Train Accident
When you are injured, get the medical care you need before doing anything else. Ask a family member or friend to collect information at the scene that may be pertinent later. Contact numbers for those involved, witness testimony and photographs of the scene may all be critical to obtaining compensation for your injuries. As soon as possible, contact a train accident attorney for expert legal assistance.
Avoid discussing the incident with anyone working for the railroad company. Do not accept any liability for the accident, and do not engage anyone in an argument because you might say something that you will regret. If the company’s insurance adjuster comes to you with a settlement offer, do not accept or negotiate until you have consulted your train accident attorney.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Railroad companies are large organizations with powerful legal resources. The number one priority of their insurance carriers is saving money and avoiding liability. You need an equally powerful legal advocate in your corner.
Additionally, an experienced lawyer will cover all contingencies when calculating your damages. You may require ongoing medical care. You may be disabled. Ideally, your compensation will account for these costs.
Call a Train Accident Attorney at Rizio Law Firm
At Rizio Law Firm, we know how to help you secure your family’s economic future following a railroad-related accident. Call us at 888-292-8888 today to arrange a free initial consultation, or fill out our contact form for a prompt reply.