Roughly 3,000 train accidents occur each year, many of them resulting in serious harm to those involved. Even a relatively minor incident involving a large locomotive can lead to life-altering events or even death. The injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon represent people from Miami and other South Florida cities that have been hurt in a railroad accident. Our firm offers experienced legal advocacy to residents of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. If you have been injured, or lost a loved one, in an accident involving a locomotive, Robert Dixon and his staff can help you pursue the compensation to which you may be entitled.Causes of Train Accidents
Train accidents can happen in a variety of ways, including derailments, a driver’s mistake, fatigue, or intoxication, as well as malfunctioning signals and tracks or a mechanical failure. However, it is grade crossing railroad accidents that account for the most fatalities and injuries in the railroad industry, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. The National Transportation Safety Board found that 60 percent of crossing fatalities involved unprotected crossings and noted that 80 percent of public railroad crossings were not protected by either lights or safety gates. Railroad collisions result in approximately 1,000 deaths annually.
A train accident can affect either one individual or hundreds of victims at a time, depending on its type. Although derailment is not common, when it does happen, a derailed car can cause massive destruction, from harming the train’s passengers, nearby pedestrians, or people in cars to causing property damage in the vicinity. Trains can also cause devastating injuries to those who work onboard.Holding a Railroad Accountable for Compensation
A railroad is responsible for ensuring its crossings are equipped with the proper signals and gates to prevent accidents and injuries. If a railroad company fails to provide or maintain these important safety features, and an injury or fatality occurs, the company may be held liable for damages that result. Conductors may also be held accountable for harm sustained in a train accident. For example, if a conductor is driving exceptionally fast or under the influence of alcohol when operating the train, and thus causes an accident, he or she may be liable for injuries caused. A conductor’s employer sometimes can also be held responsible for his or her negligent actions.
However, since railroad companies will not often admit fault, the burden of showing liability usually falls to an injured victim, who must establish that the driver, or the company, was negligent and therefore liable. To show negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendants breached the duty of care to act as a reasonable person would act under similar circumstances, and that the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries and resulting costs or losses. Damages available in these types of suits may include medical costs, loss of income, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. If a loved one has been killed in a train accident, family members may file a wrongful death claim against those responsible to pursue additional damages for burial and funeral costs, as well as loss of consortium.
Railroad workers can also recover compensation from their employers for injuries sustained on the job. The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) applies to railroad workers, and it allows them to seek damages for their injuries before a court, rather than through traditional workers’ compensation insurance claims that are handled without legal action. To prevail in a FELA claim, a worker is also required to prove his or her employer, the railroad company, was negligent. Whether you are an injured train passenger, another driver on the road, or a railroad employee, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney following a train accident, since these cases can be often complicated given the specialized industry and complex investigation that is necessary to pursue a legal claim.Seek Legal Representation After an Accident in Fort Lauderdale
If you have been hurt or lost a family member as a result of a train accident in the Fort Lauderdale region, the compassionate accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon can help you with your claim. Our firm can assist you at all stages of the legal process, from investigation and settlement negotiations through litigation if necessary. Call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation about your case.