Trains seem like a nice, calm way to travel, right? You get to sit and look out the window until you arrive at your destination. There are food cars that provide nice hot meals, and even beverage cars that offer lovely stiff drinks. You can watch the scenery, read a book, take a nap, play games, talk with other travelers, visit the engineers – basically, you can do whatever you’d like because you aren’t in charge.
That is, until the train gets into an accident.
If you get into a train accident, making a case for personal injury can be very difficult because you have to determine the precise cause of the collision.
The most common causes of railway accidents are usually:
One estimate by Mass Transit stated that train derailments are caused in equal parts by tracks, equipment, and people. Even something as innocuous as the weather can cause a crash (the cold causes the equipment to warp, for instance).
A train accident, no matter whether it was a derailment or railroad crossing mishap, will require a lengthy investigation or inquiry to determine liability. These can take upward of months or years to complete, depending on how many people were involved.
The Florida Department of Transportation will likely step in and conduct this investigation, as they normally take over when there is a train derailment or crash within the state. Depending on the outcome of this inquiry, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the railroad or the company that operated the train.
Though you may be able to recover damages, there will likely be limits to your compensation.
As railway and train accidents can be incredibly complex, the best option is to secure the help of a personal injury or wrongful death attorney in the state of Florida. That way, you have help from the very beginning of your case.
With his or her help, you might be able to get compensation for some or all of the following:
If your loved one passed away in a railway accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. You will have two years from the date of death to file the claim, and if you were named Personal Representative by the decedent’s will, you can act on behalf of that person’s estate.
Five types of survivors can recover wrongful death damages (i.e., pain and suffering):
The estate can recover the following types of damages:
The survivors, meanwhile, can recover damages for:
For those injured in railway accidents, you should know that the federal government has placed limitations on damages that can be recovered in major train crashes.
The Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act (ARAA) was passed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, who intended it to be a comprehensive restructuring of the rail system’s legal liability. Critics say that it has shielded Amtrak and other railways from other personal injury payouts, as it caps payments at $200 million per incident.
That seems like an enormous amount of money, right? But then when you look at a major accident like the 2008 Metrolink crash that left 24 people dead and 135 injured, $200 million suddenly does not seem like enough to cover those damages for everyone.
If you have been in a railway accident and need an attorney, you should speak with one as soon as possible. Consider sitting down with someone in the Enjuris directory – and certainly someone who is licensed within the state of Florida. There are many quirks when it comes to state law, and you want to be prepared for them.