Elements of a Train Accident Lawsuit

May 22, 2023

Train accidents can lead to devastating injuries. This catastrophic harm can lead to high medical bills, financial struggles, and severe pain. These accidents are often the result of negligence. You could be owed substantial compensation for your injuries if that is the case.

If you were recently involved in a train crash, you could have a case for a train accident lawsuit. Your attorney can help you prove the elements of your claim and help you seek the compensation you deserve.

What Is a Train Accident Lawsuit?

A train accident lawsuit is like other legal claims that seek monetary compensation from a negligent party. This usually occurs when train passengers sue the train company or other negligent party for their injuries. Their careless actions or inactions may make them legally liable to the injured parties.

High-speed trains, commuter trains, and much more may be involved in a railroad accident. Train cars may derail, high-speed trains can crash, and an accident at a railroad crossing could cause severe injuries.

What Makes Up a Train Accident Lawsuit?

There are many parts to a train accident lawsuit. Every case is different and its unique facts may change how the case should be handled. This could even mean different legal causes of action based on the type of accident, how it occurred, or the injuries that are involved.

Injury or Death Due to Train Collisions

A train crash is likely to cause very serious injuries or even death. Serious and catastrophic injuries are not only painful, they require serious medical intervention. Injuries from a train accident may include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Severe burns
  • Lacerations and cuts
  • Loss of limb or amputation
  • Paralysis and spinal cord injuries

The other possibility is that a person dies from a train accident. When this happens, a wrongful death lawsuit is likely appropriate. This is a lawsuit by the surviving family members for compensation related to the death of their loved one.

Negligence: Negligent Design or Operator Errors

Negligence occurs when a party breaches a reasonable duty of care to protect others. Train companies and other parties have a duty of care towards train passengers to help keep them safe.

One common problem is a negligent design of the train, train parts, or even a track. When a company designs a defective or dangerous product on the train, it can cause severe injuries and even a train accident. The designer and manufacturer of that defective part may be responsible for the harm they caused.

Other train accidents are caused by operator errors. The train operator is supposed to know how to safely manage and operate the train. When they are negligent, you may be able to hold the train operator responsible for your injuries.

Damages and Monetary Compensation

A train accident lawsuit seeks compensation for injured passengers and their family members. Monetary compensation may include:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Costs of rehabilitation
  • Property damages
  • Lost income and earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death damages

This monetary compensation can help you and your family move forward after a devastating train accident. Train accident victims deserve quality representation in their case.

Common Causes of Train Accidents

Determining the cause of the train accident is a key part of proving the legal claim. A qualified train accident attorney knows how to investigate the case and learn what caused the train accident.

Dangerous Conditions

Many trains are poorly maintained and left in a dangerous condition. Train companies often fail to properly fix problems they know exist or follow standard maintenance schedules. This can lead to faulty trains that may derail and cause severe harm.

Dangerous conditions can also include:

  • Slip and fall hazards on the train
  • Exposed electrical wiring
  • Cracked train tracks
  • Lack of lights on the train so other vehicles can't see it

Inadequate Training

Train operators and other staff need proper training. A train is a dangerous piece of equipment. It is massively heavy and can cause severe harm. When train operators get insufficient training, they may not know how to avoid common problems or keep their passengers safe. This can lead to devastating and deadly accidents.

It is the train company's job to adequately train its operators and employees. Its failure to do so could make it financially liable to you or others that were harmed in the train accident.

Driver and Pedestrian Negligence

One of the most common causes of train accidents is a driver's or pedestrian's negligence. Drivers try to outrun a train and cause a severe accident. Others leave a vehicle on the track and cause an accident that way.

Other accidents are caused by pedestrians who stay on the track even when a train is coming. The sudden stop to avoid the pedestrian can lead to passenger injuries or worse.

Traveling Too Quickly

Train operators are supposed to know how fast to travel in certain zones. Many purposely or negligently travel too fast and can cause serious injuries. This can lead to a train derailment on railroads or a crash into train stations.

Defective Tracks or Obstructions

Other train accidents are due to defective or broken tracks. Defective tracks may be caused by poor design or faulty materials. They may also be due to negligent maintenance and care of the tracks.

Train companies are also supposed to be aware of possible obstructions. Their negligence in clearing tracks may mean they owe you substantial compensation for your injuries.

Do You Need a Train Accident Lawyer?

You need train accident lawyers who know how to handle these complex cases. Train accidents are often caused by a train company's negligence. The train company will fight hard and use high-powered legal teams to try to avoid liability.

If you were injured in a train accident, let a qualified attorney from McEldrew Purtell help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We also help small firms and individual attorneys with referral services when dealing with complicated cases like train accidents. Let us know how we can help. Contact us today.