Consider these recent stories of train accidents.
- In June, one person was killed after being struck by a train in East Rochester. Only three days before, a 22-year-old man was killed by a train in Perinton.
- In July, one person was killed by a commuter train in Long Island.
- In South Carolina earlier this year, an Amtrak passenger train crashed into a parked freight train.
If you were hurt in a train accident like one of these, you may be entitled to compensation… but it’s complicated, and there are a number of complex laws governing things.
One of the most complicated aspects? Who can be held legally responsible. In this post, we’re going to break down why these types of accidents happen, and who you might be able to hold liable if you suffer a New York railroad injury.
Common Causes of Train Accidents
Every year, more than 2,500 train accidents occur in the United States. Whether the accident involves a derailment, crash with a vehicle, or a collision with a pedestrian, serious injuries or death can result.
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, it’s wise to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The first thing an experienced train accident lawyer will try to determine is why the accident happened. These are the most common reasons railroad accidents happen in New York:
- Mechanical failure
- Electrical failure
- Lack of proper maintenance
- Lack of adequate inspection
- Part or structural defects
- Signal malfunction
- Foreign object on the track
- Communication problems
- Driver errors
- Driver fatigue
Anyone who is injured in a train accident (or family members of people killed in a train accident) can file for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. It’s important to determine each party who may be at fault to get the maximum amount of compensation to help you and your loved ones recover. Once the party or parties are determined, you must file a claim as soon as possible to avoid disqualification by the statute of limitations.
Potential Responsible Parties for NY Railroad Accidents
Once the cause of the accident is determined, your lawyer will name the liable party or parties in the claim. One or more of the following entities could be held responsible in your case.
For accidents that involve a public transportation system, you may be able to file a claim against the common carrier. These entities have a higher duty of care than the average person because they are responsible for the safety of their users. They can be held legally responsible for your injuries in a train accident if negligence was involved. Common carriers are subject to federal and state laws, and an experienced attorney will understand how the laws affect liability your case.
Private railway owner
If the owner of the railway acted with negligence that led to your injuries, you may be able to name them as liable in your personal injury lawsuit.
Human errors can lead to disastrous results in train accidents. Your lawyer will know if the evidence points to the person operating the train being responsible.
If a part of the train was defective, and its malfunction led to the accident that caused your injury, you may be able to include the manufacturer in the list of those liable for damages.
Part distributor or merchant
Other parties that can be named in a defective part case could be the distributor or seller, if those parties knew that the part was defective and did nothing to remedy the problem.
The railway may hire a contractor or service to maintain and repair the train. If the service provider fails to adequately perform, and their negligence leads to an accident, you may be able to hold them liable for your injuries.
Special Rights for Injured Railway Workers in NY
If you are a railway worker injured on the job, you have special protections under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). To receive FELA benefits, you will need to prove that the railroad was directly responsible for your injuries. An experienced attorney can help you find the evidence to bolster your claim.
What You Can Do to Get Fair and Just Compensation in NY
Your lawyer will survey the evidence from your case to determine who is liable for your injuries. The recording from the train’s black box will offer helpful information like speed, brake use, signal use and other factors which your attorney can use to strengthen your claim.
You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, other expenses related to the accident, and pain and suffering. Do not take your injury lying down – make those responsible pay.