Train Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What kinds of train related accidents can I be compensated for if I sustain injuries in the incident?
A: All of the following types of train accidents may result in passenger or operator injuries for which damages can be recovered:
Q: What are some common causes of railroad accidents and derailments?
A: Derailments and train accidents are most often caused by one of the following factors:
- Safety violations
- Operator fatigue
- Excessive speeding
- Reckless conduct by a train conductor, rail inspector or railroad maintenance mechanic
- Illegal use of drugs or alcohol by a train operator
- Improper storage of hazardous chemicals or other dangerous substances on a train
- Faulty train tracks or improper rail inspections
- Defective or improper maintenance of crossing signals
Q: If I'm injured in a collision, to whom can I make a claim?
A: Train collision claims can be made against any person or organization responsible for the collision. That can include the:
- Railroad Company
- Railroad Operator
- Light rail transit agencies
- Local city and state operator and administrators
- City where the accident took place
- Track owner
- Train manufacturer
Q: If I was injured in a train accident, but I am a railroad employee, can I still sue my own company?
A: Yes. If you are a railroad employee, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) allows you to seek damages from your employer if your injuries were sustained as a result of the railroad's negligence or its failure to comply with certain basic train safety standards.
Q: What is required of a train's crew members as they approach a public grade crossing?
A: Crew members of a freight train must maintain a reasonable lookout and control over the vehicle as it approaches a crossing. Depending on the individual state and federal laws, they may have to decrease speed as a crossing nears, particularly in the presence of hazardous conditions like fog, rain, snow, or other situations which may limit visibility.
Q: What is the railroad's responsibility as regards grade crossing protection?
A: The installation of crossing protections are usually funded by state and federal governments, but once installed, it is usually the railroad's job to make sure they are well maintained and properly functioning. The railroad must also maintain adequate sight lines at crossings, clearing away vegetation or other obstructions as necessary.
Q: What are my rights as a pedestrian or motorist struck by a train or light rail vehicle at a railroad crossing?
A: If you can demonstrate that the railroad grade crossing was negligently maintained or that the train operators were acting negligently, you may be able to bring a claim against the railroad company. You may also file a claim against any other person or entity whose negligence contributed to the collision.
Q: What damages are recoverable in train collisions?
A: If you sustain an injury, recoverable damages can include the past and future medical bills and wage loss, pain, disability and emotional suffering. If you are married, your uninjured spouse may also have a claim for loss of your services and companionship. In the unfortunate event of a fatal injury, surviving family members can file a claim for the deceased's lost income as well as the loss of care, support, services, society, and companionship.
Q: Who do I contact if I have been injured in an accident?
If you have been injured in a train accident of any kind, it is important to contact an experienced attorney as quickly as possible. The wreckage of a train accident will only be preserved for a short time, and sometimes those remains provide crucial clues as to the cause of the accident and the responsible party or parties. When you obtain representation from train accident attorneys like the team at Arnold & Itkin, we can work quickly to evaluate accident scenes, interview witnesses, examine grade crossings and help determine liability before valuable evidence is lost or corrupted.
Investigations such as these are often necessary to prove railroad accident claims, and most individuals do not have the time or resources necessary to properly examine evidence, particularly when attempting to recover from an injury. For that reason, the attorneys at Arnold & Itkin obtain expert consultants to help prove your claim as soon as we are hired, allowing you to focus on your recovery process. If you are considering filing a railroad injury claim, we can help. Contact our office today for a free consultation.