With the new Brightline trains here in Florida and more Floridians opting for public transportation, the number of deaths and injuries caused along railroads has greatly increased. In fact, it is almost becoming commonplace to hear a news story about a train striking a pedestrian or a car while going at high speeds. This increase has left many people wondering who is at fault when someone is injured or killed by a train or along a railroad crossing.
Determining the Cause of the Accident
A train accident can be traumatic as they often result in deaths or extreme injuries. The first step to finding who is liable for the accident is determining the true cause for the accident. A train is owned by the railroad company for which it belongs, and it is up to that company to ensure that their tracks are safe and stable for pedestrians and cars to seamlessly cross without the risk of danger. Every time you cross a railroad track, you are entering into the personal property of the railroad company. If you get hurt while on their property, they should be held liable for that injury. This is similar to a slip-and-fall accident at a restaurant: if the manager failed to clean up a spill in a timely manner and you were hurt because of it, the accident would be their fault.
Train accidents can be a bit trickier than that, though. Each railroad has a designated crossing area for both cars and pedestrians, along with warnings and alerts to let people know when a train is near. If you were to cross outside of that designated crossing area, you are actually considered a trespasser and if hurt, you or your family would not be able to hold the train company liable for any injuries or fatalities. Similarly, if you ignored a warning sign that was clearly marked and functioning properly, then you would be at fault for any accident that occurs along the tracks. On the other hand, though, if a warning sign malfunctioned or was not clearly visible, you may be able to hold the train company liable for your injuries.
If it is proven that the train company was at fault for your injuries or a loved one’s fatality, you should speak with an experienced attorney about recovering damages and receiving compensation. Train injuries are often much more severe than car or truck injuries and can lead to expensive medical bills, long stays in the hospital and out of work and a lifelong battle with disability, health concerns and more. If the accident caused a fatality, the family of the deceased will also be able to collect compensatory damages, which cover the medical expenses and funeral costs along with any damages that were incurred such as loss of support.
If you or a loved one are in a train accident and it is proven to be the fault of the train company, you shouldn’t have to deal with the aftermath alone. Railroad companies are large entities with many hoops to jump through and it can be difficult for a victim to handle the insurance and legalities that come along with this type of case.
Having an experienced train accident attorney on your side can help you jump these hurdles and let you focus on your recovery or your loss. The attorneys at Balkan and Patterson have handled train-related cases before and know what it takes to hold a train company liable for their negligence and inability to care for the public. If you or a loved one was hurt by a train or along a train track, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you. Give us a call at 561-750-9191 or visit our website.