New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Can You File a Personal Injury Case if You are Injured in a Train Accident

Posted on Jun 2, 2015 in Train Accidents

Train Accident and their Causes

Train accidents are usually quite devastating, many passengers are seriously injured, and a few even die. Most rail accidents occur due to derailment, or collision with another train, motor vehicle, or pedestrian at railroad crossings or on the tracks. Such accidents are often caused by human error, obstruction on tracks, or mechanical failure. Even though many supposedly fail-proof systems have

Image Courtesy - ABC News

Image Courtesy – ABC News

been developed that reduces the risk of human error, train accidents still do happen.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you have been injured in a rail accident, you can claim compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. You will need expert legal representation and it is best to rely on a lawyer or law firm that has handled train accident cases before. The lawyer will mainly consider the severity of your injuries and the way the accident happened, before taking your case.

What You need to Prove?

As in any personal injury case, your lawyer will have to prove liability, causation, and damages. You will have to show that the accident was caused due to the carelessness or negligence of the train company, a railroad employee, or some government agency. Secondly, this accident was the direct cause of your injuries, and that your injuries are significant or permanent. If a person has died in the accident, then the person’s family member can file a wrongful death case to claim compensation for the losses the family has suffered due to the premature death of the individual.

Possible Complications

In a train accident, it is often difficult to determine what caused the mishap. Investigations are usually carried out by the government, and news media will be reporting all developments. However, your lawyer will have to interpret these reports and findings, and determine who is actually responsible for the accident.

For instance, in the recent Amtrak crash, it is becoming clear that the accident could have been caused by human error, as the train driver failed to slow the train down at a turning which he of course knew was there. However, the latest reports suggest that the train might have been struck by an object just before the crash. Even if that is the case the train was still moving too quickly.

This could complicate the case further, since there is a possibility of someone shooting or throwing a rock at the windshield. Unfortunately, the engineer does not remember anything about the accident. However, during the investigation he seems to have demonstrated that he has full knowledge of all the correct speeds and procedures. Then why was the train going so fast around that bend?

Up to now, it has been ascertained that the train started speeding just before taking the turn, when it was supposed to slow down. Secondly, the engineer applied the brakes just seconds before the derailment occurred. Hence, it is not clear whether the accident could have caused by human error or there was something else involved. Even though Amtrak was quick to claim responsibility for the train accident, victims are not sure how the case will play out.

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