Train Accident Lawsuit fuide 2023
34 million times a day people use public transport. Trains are a very popular form of public transport, but accidents involving trains are on the rise. Between 2020 and 2023, fatal train accidents in the United States increased by 20%, according to the National Safety Council. Being involved in a train accident is much more complicated than a simple auto accident. This guide helps readers understand what causes accidents and what legal options may be available.
What caused the train accident?
Train accidents can be caused by numerous failures, such as:
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, human error is one of the leading causes of train accidents. Human error can be an independent cause or a contributing factor in an accident. It is important to understand what caused the train accident, as each cause can lead to different legal claims for damages.
A successful train accident case requires evidence
Most train accident cases fall under tort law. A tort is a civil wrong that harms a person. It is civil because it is not a violation of law or law like murder. A train accident is considered a negligent tort, as there was no intent to cause harm and the accident was caused by negligence.
First, to win a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove that the person who caused the accident owed them a duty of care. Train operators and train companies must operate trains in a reasonably prudent and safe manner.
Second, they must prove that the person or company breached their duty of care, such as failing to maintain track or apply the brakes when necessary.
Third, the plaintiff must show that they suffered injury as a result of the infringement.
Fourth, the plaintiff must prove that the breach caused your injury. So for example, a damaged rail that was not inspected caused the train to derail, causing your injury.
Steps to be taken if involved in a train accident
If you are involved in a train accident, make sure to document the accident. Take photos and videos of the accident scene. Make sure to capture as many as possible. If you are physically injured and unable to capture evidence at the scene of the accident, your attorney can try to collect it from bystanders or other victims during discovery.
You should seek immediate medical attention. You must see a doctor who can document all your injuries. The sooner you can document the injury, the stronger your case for damages will be. It is also essential to follow all medical instructions. You don’t want to contribute to your injury by failing to follow your doctor’s orders. Failure to follow their orders can reduce the amount of money you receive in your case.
Finding the Right Attorney for a Train Accident Case
When handling a complex personal injury case like a train accident, experience is key. You can get a referral to an attorney with train accident experience by using your state or local bar association referral service. Then, read their website and see if they have any information on train accidents. Also, check out reviews from previous clients to see what they have to say about working with the attorney.
Damages are available in case of a train accident
A train accident can result in serious injuries, and getting compensation for those injuries can be confusing. Most damages will be compensatory or economic. These include:
Medical Treatment/Future Medical Treatment
Pain and suffering
Lost wages/future lost wages
Loss of Consortium
Loss of enjoyment of life/opportunities
However, in some circumstances, courts may award punitive damages, which are to punish a person.
Special issues to consider in case of train accidents
Since train accidents are a unique type of accident, there are certain considerations you should be aware of.
In 1997 Congress passed the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act. In this act, Congress set the liability limit for train companies at $200 million. This cap applies to all claims filed from an incident In 2015, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, raising the liability limit to $322,864,228.
This liability cap is significant as it caps the total payout for a train accident for all claims including punitive damages for a single incident. Because a train accident often involves hundreds of passengers, multiple employees, and potentially bystanders, the cap often results in victims who are not adequately compensated.
Class Actions vs. Multidistrict Litigation
When multiple people are injured in an accident, these lawsuits can often present themselves in court as class actions or multidistrict lawsuits.
In a class action lawsuit, numerous individuals are joined together under one lawsuit. In these cases, one plaintiff will represent all plaintiffs in court. People can opt-out of a class action to preserve their right to justice, but if someone doesn’t opt out, they can be bound by the outcome of the trial.
In a multidistrict litigation case, you typically have multiple plaintiffs injured in the same action, but they live in different jurisdictions. This is very common in a train accident where passengers can be from all over. A multidistrict litigation case differs from a class action in that each plaintiff maintains their separate litigation, but the cases are consolidated so that one judge hears all pre-trial motions. After several bellwether trials are heard to provide test cases.
Class actions or multidistrict litigation are great because they allow plaintiffs to band together to share resources, such as discovery or subpoenas. They allow courts to be more efficient with their resources by allowing a judge to hear the presentation of evidence and rule on the law efficiently.
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