Train accidents are not something that a person normally thinks about ahead of time. Perhaps that’s why you’re here: you have recently been in a train accident and you want to learn more about what you should do in this situation.
Train accidents are a serious problem in Duluth. If you or someone you love has an injury resulting from a train accident, it’s worth your time to read this article. To protect your rights as you move forward, call Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm today. Our Duluth train accident lawyers stand ready to help you through this difficult time.
Train Accidents in Duluth
Trains have always been a part of Duluth’s history. The city became a center for shipping and commerce in 1871, in large part due to the opening of the historic Duluth Train Depot. Trains have been running through Duluth ever since.
Unfortunately, with trains comes accidents and serious injuries. Trains can weigh between 4,000 tons (8,818,490 pounds) and 20,000 tons (44,092,452 pounds) and travel between 60 and 80 miles per hour, in accordance with federal laws. That immense amount of weight and force can cause serious harm and destruction in an accident.
Georgia has seen 81 train accidents a year on average in recent history. Sadly, these accidents result in an average of 10 fatalities annually. Additionally, the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) claims that a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States approximately every two hours. It’s a staggering statistic that reminds us to be safe and exercise precautions near all railroad tracks.
If you are in an accident involving a train, you could face significant medical bills and experience persistent pain and suffering. Your injuries may even prevent you from working. Therefore, it’s vital to seek legal counsel to protect yourself from the crushing financial burden that can result from a train accident. Contact Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm, to get help and guidance from a reputable train accident attorney in Duluth, Georgia.
Common Causes of Train Accidents
Scientific American reports that train derailments caused 54,889 of the 58,299 train accidents in the United States during a recent 10-year period. That represents 94 percent of all train accidents, making it the leading cause of train accident injuries. Broken rails are most frequently the cause of these derailments.
Situations that also commonly result in train accidents include:
- A train colliding with a vehicle
- A train striking a person
- Two trains colliding with each other
- The collapse of a railway bridge or platform
Often, train collisions involving a motor vehicle take place when a vehicle stalls on train tracks. A freight train with 150 cars traveling at 50 miles per hour will take well over a mile to come to a complete stop.
Never take a chance at any railroad crossing, which is where most train accidents occur. Always err on the side of caution. According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, there were 2,216 collisions at private and public railway crossings in 2019, leading to 807 injuries.
Over half of all fatal train accidents take place at train crossings that have insufficient or non-existent safety devices in place to alert motorists of an oncoming locomotive. The takeaway here is to expect the unexpected and exercise extreme caution at railroad crossings.
Another key lesson is that any accident involving a train practically guarantees severe injuries result. Our Duluth train accident attorneys help many accident victims navigate the legal process to receive maximum financial compensation for their damages.
Who Is Liable If I’m Injured in a Duluth Train Accident?
Trains offer forms of mass transit and freight transportation. As such, railroad companies must exercise “extraordinary care” for their passengers and all bystanders at train crossings and stations. Failure to provide that care may be considered negligence.
When it comes to cases of negligence or wrongful death, the railroad company must prove they did everything they could to prevent injuries to their passengers or other bystanders to avoid financial responsibility for damages.
A railroad company may bear liability in the following train accident scenarios:
- Conductor negligence – Conductors and engineers must operate the train safely. Many injuries are the result of conductors who are reckless, inattentive, or push the train to excessive speeds.
- Violations of regulations or laws – Just like drivers of motor vehicles, train conductors must adhere to all applicable safety rules and regulations. Failure to do so may leave the train company on the hook financially for damages in an accident.
- Defective or hazardous train tracks – Train companies must take steps to ensure the rails they travel on are stable and free of anything that could result in an accident.
- Systems failures – Train companies automate their operating systems. One of the main reasons for automation is the certainty of consistent safety procedures. Unfortunately, equipment failure occurs too often, and that leads to train crashes with severe consequences.
- Mechanical failures – Train operators must properly maintain all the parts of their locomotives. When a mechanical defect in the engine or cars causes an accident, the resulting injuries and damages can be severe.
- Faulty or inadequate train signals and safety devices – As you might expect, train operators have the duty to warn others and provide safety measures at train crossings. These measures include crossing gates, warning lights, and train signals, all of which must be in acceptable working order.
- Failure to sound a horn at a crossing – Most motorists and pedestrians understand hearing a train horn means a train is nearby. It’s a simple step that conductors must take to ensure safety for themselves and others.
- Train cargo errors – Train operators are required to balance train cargo adequately. Further, operating a train with an unreasonable or excessive cargo load could be considered negligent.
- Errors made by inexperienced employees – The weight and speed of trains combine to create an unstoppable force. With such serious stakes on the line, train companies must hire the most qualified employees and provide adequate training to prevent accidents. In short, they must ensure that their employees have developed the skills and experience necessary to operate the train safely and keep it in good working order.
- Malfunctioning turnstiles and doors – Train passengers can sustain injuries from turnstiles and closing doors. These injuries often include broken bones and nerve damage.
- Slips and falls – Many factors can contribute to a fall at the train station, including:
- Poor maintenance
- Damaged stairs or escalators
- Insufficient lighting
- Slippery surfaces
- Assaults – According to premises liability law, train and subway operators are responsible for maintaining a reasonable level of security at their depots. To that end, the operator may be liable for violent acts that take place on the train or in the train station.
What Damages Can You Claim from a Railroad Accident?
Like other types of accidents, the damages you may claim in a train accident suit include physical, mental, and emotional damages.
Generally, damages from a train-involved crash include:
- Past, current, and future medical costs, including physical rehabilitation
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death
At Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm, we understand that physical and emotional pain continues long after an accident. We dedicate ourselves to making you as financially whole as possible, so you can focus on your health and getting back to your life.
Who Is Financially Responsible for My Claims?
When a train accident causes injury or death, the liable parties may include:
- The train company
- Anyone working for the company, including the conductor or engineer
- Train mechanics
- Manufacturers of faulty parts
The responsibility for damages often splits between parties. In these instances, the judge declares which parties are responsible and how much each must pay.
Usually, the insurance carrier for the train company will attempt to settle with the victims. Remember, the goal of the insurance company is to pay as little money as possible. Refuse to answer their questions without your lawyer present, should they contact you. Insurers have lawyers too, and they know what questions to ask to get you to say something that will hurt your case. Refer all inquiries to your lawyer.
Should both sides fail to reach a satisfactory settlement, it may be necessary to take your case to court. A reputable train accident lawyer can help you call on qualified witnesses to support your claims. The attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm have experience reconstructing the accident scene and acquiring crucial evidence needed to help your case.
Train Accidents FAQ
We’ve covered a lot and answered a lot of common questions so far. Here are a few more frequently asked questions that may apply to your case.
What can I expect in settlement negotiations with the railroad company’s insurance company?
As mentioned earlier, the primary goal of the insurance company is to resolve the case for as little money as possible. With that in mind, you can expect the first settlement offer from the insurer to be a “low ball” offer.
Many train accident victims accept these low initial offers because they don’t realize the full degree of the damages they deserve. Reject that first settlement offer and get help from a train accident lawyer who will fight for every type of compensation for which you may be eligible.
Can a train company be sued by their own employees?
Typically, worker’s compensation statutes prevent an injured employee from suing their employer. However, employees of railroad companies are granted an exception under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Consequently, both employees and passengers who sustain injuries in a train accident due to negligence are eligible for compensation.
Why do law firms investigate the accident scene?
The answer to this question is simple—to gather important facts and evidence to bolster your case. The more time that passes after an accident, the more likely that evidence will be lost. In the days that follow an accident, witnesses can recall more accurately the details of the accident. However, as time goes on, memories fade, and details become murky at best.
Hire an accident attorney as soon as possible after the incident, so they can get to work reconstructing the scene, recording witness accounts, and securing evidence to help support your case.
How can Duluth train accident lawyers help me?
Once a train accident occurs, the railway company and other responsible parties, along with their insurers, get to work on reducing their liability. They understand that less liability on their part translates to less compensation to you. They will attempt to obtain information from you to support that endeavor.
However, when you have an accident attorney on your side, you can direct all questions and correspondence from the train company or their insurer to your counsel. Your Duluth personal injury attorney will protect your case and ensure that you receive just compensation for all damages.
Contact a Skilled Duluth Train Accident Lawyer Now
When you contact Attorney David Brauns of Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm, you’ll get the assistance you need to receive compensation for your damages. Many accident victims are unaware of the various damages they can claim, as well as the true costs of their future expenses. Lean on the expertise at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm to evaluate past, current, and future expenses caused by your injury. We’ll work tirelessly to make sure you receive the highest compensation allowable by law. Our goal is to help you recover your physical, mental, and emotional damages.
Don’t attempt to navigate the complexities of train accident law alone. Let us fight for your rights. Enlist the help of Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm now by calling our 24-hour number, (404) 418-8244. You can also contact us online. We’ll schedule a free case evaluation to review your case, answer all of your questions, and let you know the kinds of damages you may claim.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: (404) 205-8614
“I was treated with great care and compassion by David Brauns and his team. Both David and Nick Connelly were in constant communication with me throughout the process. Highly recommend.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Read more reviews on Google!