Train Accident Lawyer
The nation runs because of the rail lines. Trains are indispensable vehicles for moving passengers and cargo. These massively powerful machines are efficient and cost-effective. However, they are also dangerous, resulting in numerous deaths and even more injury accidents each year.
It is not just those who ride the rails that are hurt, either. People who are driving near rails and rail crossings can also be hurt or killed.
Have you suffered harm because of a train derailment or train crash? The rail companies maintain robust legal departments designed to limit their liability for damages. Fight back with experienced legal representation from the train accident lawyers at The Joel Bieber Firm.
Lawyers for the train company will attempt to settle your claim for pennies of what it is worth. Alternatively, the rail company can fight your claim aggressively. Even the playing field with talented representation when your attorney is skilled and capable of addressing your injuries.
How Trains Crash and Cause Injuries
There are three primary ways that a train can cause injuries to others: derailment, a train collision, and spills or leaks. Each of these events is brought on by different circumstances and actions, not all of which are within your control.
A derailment event occurs when part of the train loses contact with the rails underneath. Derailment events usually start with one specific car but quickly escalate, resulting in several cars leaving the track and crashing. As rail cars leave the tracks, they can crash into nearby buildings and vehicles, causing severe injuries or death.
In the case of a passenger train, derailments can cause broken bones, concussions, and other serious injuries to passengers. In any derailment, motorists and pedestrians close by can also suffer injuries.
For a derailment to happen, contact between the wheels of at least one car and the rail underneath must be interrupted. This can happen for several reasons, including:
- Excessive speed
- Adverse weather conditions
- Defect in the wheel or rail
- High winds
Excessive speed increases the risk of derailment, especially when traveling along curves and turns. Similarly, weather conditions like snow and ice can impact a wheel’s traction and magnify the effects of excessive speed.
Defects can also be to blame, such as a wheel that fails due to a manufacturing defect. And gusts or high winds can topple rail cars, especially if the cars are loaded improperly or unevenly.
With a derailment event, your train accident lawyer will want to investigate the root cause that set the derailment into motion. The party responsible for the derailment will likely be the one to whom your attorney will look for compensation.
Due to their immense size and mass, a train running at full speed takes an incredible amount of distance to stop. Whenever a roadway and a rail line intersect, there should be warning signs and traffic control signals to prevent a collision between the train and other traffic.
To further reduce the chance of a collision, rules and regulations require trains to audibly announce their approach with their horns whenever they are approaching a rail crossing. This also helps decrease the likelihood of a driver entering into the train’s path when there is insufficient room to do so.
An audible warning is critical at those rail crossings where there are no warning or control lights.
When the rail crossing lights and arm guards malfunction, the risk of a collision increases. The risk of a crash between a train and other vehicles also increases if the train does not give adequate audible signals.
Spills or Leaks
A derailment can cause toxic substances to leak out of cars that are transporting these materials. However, defects in the rail cars can cause these sorts of leaks even without a derailment.
Authorities may not be able to detect such a leak until the train has stopped for a period of time. It may take locals calling in and reporting strange smells. Local residents near the leaky car may also notice changes in the appearance of their water.
Leaks and spills from older cars will always be a risk. This risk goes down when the rail companies and freight companies prioritize regular inspection of their cars. When there are signs a rail car has damage or age-related wear, the company should remove it from service.
Who Is Responsible for a Train Accident?
Depending on the type of crash, there may be several parties that you and your train accident lawyer could sue for damages. These parties include the individual operating the train, the employees loading the train, and their respective employers.
A rail company could also face liability if it fails to maintain its rail lines and crossings. Following a thorough investigation, your train accident lawyer will know who you should bring suit against.
Settlements After Train Crashes
If the rail company or other party believes it may face liability, they may approach you with a settlement offer after a crash. The company might promise to pay you a certain sum of money up front in exchange for your promise not to file or pursue a lawsuit.
While settlement offers do provide you with compensation quickly, you should think carefully before accepting such an offer. If you do accept a settlement, you are giving up your right to file a lawsuit and seek additional damages for future harm you may suffer.
And if the settlement proves to be inadequate for your needs, you will have to suffer whatever additional uncompensated costs there may be.
This is why it is vital to have your train accident lawyer review any offer you receive. Your attorney can negotiate an appropriate settlement that compensates you fairly.
Reach Out to an Experienced Train Accident Lawyer at The Joel Bieber Firm
If you or a loved one was hurt in a train crash, The Joel Bieber Law Firm wants to help you. Contact us today, and let us help you stand up for your rights in the face of the big rail companies.