Many think of railroad travel as the safest means of transportation, but train accidents happen far more often than people realize. In California, one of the deadliest railroad accidents occurred in 2008 on the Chatsworth Metrolink, when 135 people were injured and 25 people died. In 2017, the Federal Railroad Administration recorded 666 injuries from railroad accidents and 158 fatalities. At Williams Iagmin, LLP we understand the devastation that a train accident can cause and we have years of experience protecting our clients’ rights to compensation.
It is estimated that on average, a train accident occurs every 90 minutes somewhere across the United States. Train accidents occur for a number of reasons, including when cars and trucks stall or are left purposely on the tracks, mechanical failure, poor maintenance, distracted conductors, fatigue, confusing signals at crossings, and intoxication. Railroad accidents can involve trains and automobiles, trains and pedestrians, derailment on their own, and two trains colliding. Regardless of the type of accident, victims of train accidents may be entitled to compensation for their damages.
Under California law, trains are considered common carriers, which means that a train does not have to guarantee a passenger’s safety. However, railroads still have a duty of care for their passengers and anyone else who could be injured or killed because of an accident involving a train that arises out of negligence, fraud, or willful conduct.
In order to prove a claim for damages in a train accident, a person must show that first, the railroad had a duty of care. Second, that the train breached that duty through negligent or intentional acts, and finally that as a direct result of that breach, that person suffered harm in the train accident.
Under the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997, federal law imposes a cap of $200 million for damages in any railroad accident. While this may seem like a lot of money, this amount is imposed regardless of the number of victims injured or killed, the severity of the injuries, or the additional damage caused by the accident. This is why it is vitally important that victims secure an experienced personal injury attorney who will be able to preserve their claims following an accident.
Following a train accident, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation for the following harms:
In train accidents that result in fatalities, the family members of an accident victim may also sue for wrongful death and funeral costs.
Given the massive size and force of a train, railroad accidents are often catastrophic events. The attorneys at Williams Iagmin, LLP understand the trauma that follows a train accident and are here to provide compassionate legal advocacy for railroad accident victims and their families. Call our office or contact us today to schedule a free review of your claims.