Train and subway are a mass transportation system that is relied upon by millions of people. To travel by train or subway is always convenient and affordable. So, it is natural that the system is always busy. A simple operator error, manufacturing error, or poor maintenance can lead to catastrophic injuries. The injuries incurred can be debilitating and life-threatening. Furthermore, they are costly, hence, inflicting financial and emotional burden on the victims. It is required by the law that the operator should safely transport passengers to their destination as well as maintain their stations, facilities, and parking. Therefore, if you are involved in a train and subway accident, it is vital that you take intense legal action to protect your rights and get maximum compensation with the help of a lawyer from The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm.
Train and Subway accidents
Before we venture into the accidents caused by trains and subways, let us first know what they are. A subway is an electric underground urban passage while a train is an electric tram couple with a string of 3-6 wagons. Both serve the same purpose, and there's not much big difference. They are the most extensive public transportation in the world. Moreover, they involve complex and technical issues that need a clear understanding of the structure, operation, and hierarchy.
Train and subway accidents result in severe and sometimes catastrophic injuries. No passenger boards, a city subway, metro, or transit train expect a derailment. However, this incident occurs, and it's often due to one of the parties involved. The trains, platforms, and infrastructure are not always maintained. Hence, creating a dangerous situation for those who rely on them as their primary mode of transport. While some accidents are unavoidable, others are purely caused by either the driver, operator or authority laxity. Examples of carelessness which leads to mass transport accident include:
- Doors closing on passengers
- Getting dragged along with the train
- Leaking pipes causing wet and slippery surfaces
- The subway outdoor steps and platforms having snow and ice on them
- Criminal acts like robbery and assault in trains due to security negligence
- Train tracks electrical faulty wires injuries
- Train lurching due to an exhausted driver or operator
- Poor maintenance
- Assault allowed by security neglect
- Failure to repair worn out parts
- Careless driving.
- Malfunctioning escalators and elevators
- Derailments and collisions
Possible Injuries From Train and Subway Accidents
Frequent passengers to train and subway can tell how quickly these heavy machineries with confined spaces move and appear suddenly. They cause catastrophic injuries that include:
- Skull and bone fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe cuts
- Paralysis or death
- Burns and smoke inhalation from subway fires
- Internal injuries
What to do After The Accident Occurs
After being injured in a train and subway accident, most probably you get assistance from police or staff. If so, cooperate with the authorities. If you are seriously injured, let emergency respondents take good care of you. While dealing with authorities, it is crucial that you involve the Personal Injury Attorney to protect your rights to a potential legal claim. The attorney will strongly suggest you take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention: no matter how you are feeling, you need a doctor to evaluate you within 24-48 hours of the accident. The doctor will officially document the exact injury records and identify a possible outcome to alert you on a medical problem.
- Gather evidence: after a relaxation either at home or admitted in the hospital, note down any information that you can remember. Mainly time, weather conditions, location, and destination. Ensure it is your best recollection of what happened to you.
- Take photographs: if you can do so, take photos of the accident site, your injuries, lighting condition, and anything that might have contributed to the accident. Every detail matters and can be used in a court for a claim.
- Talk to a witness: talk to the onlookers, and having their names and addresses will be more critical. This information can be used later if necessary.
- Don't blame anyone: keep quiet unless where specified. Do not say who or what caused the accident. Just stick to what happened and don't accept blame. In case your signature is required, do not sign without the personal injury lawyer.
- Don't publicize the accident: after the accident, your injury, expectations, and impending claim details should not be in public platforms like social media. You could interfere with a potential claim and lose the compensation that you deserve.
- Contact an attorney: be in contact with our experienced train and subway accident attorney. You will get help in every step of your way, your accident investigated, and any necessary legal action taken that includes filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Who is Liable for Train and Subway Accidents
There are multiple potentially liable parties for train and subway accidents. They include transportation authorities, manufacturers, engineers, conductors, operators, and designers. All these people have the responsibility of maintaining and repairing stations, trains, and subways and creating a safe and secure environment for the well being of the commuters. With the help of an attorney, you will be able to establish liability in your case and determine the cost of your damages.
Train and Subway Accident Lawsuits
A train and subway accident lawsuit begins when a victim files a complaint with a court to the necessary jurisdiction. The company responsible, in turn, presents a response with any kind of defense they might have. Discovery time is scheduled by the judge, where the parties involved use the time given to exchange shreds of evidence. Then, hearings of any pre-trials and motions follow.
It is during the pre-trials and motions, the involved parties agree on which facts and shreds of evidence to use. Other critical preliminary matters are admitted upon.
Afterward, a trial takes place where the jury has the responsibility of giving a verdict. If the train and subway are liable for the accident, the amount of damages is set.
The liable party has a right to appeal the verdict of the court. They may seek settlement negotiations for an agreement with the other party so as not to pursue an appeal to the judgment.
The settlement negotiations are preferred by the train and subway companies to avoid press exposure. If done before the lawsuit claim, they avoid the law court expenses. Generally, the settlements involve agreements between the victim and the defendant on the amount that is enough to cover the damages caused by the accident.
As a victim, do not agree on the settlement without involving an attorney. The negotiations have their merits and demerits. The liable party might offer a smaller amount that would not cover the future expenses of the injury caused.
Standard of Carrier Owed by A Common Carrier
Years ago, a victim of a train and subway accident was determined by whether the plaintiff was a passenger, trespasser, or an invitee. Fortunately, most states have changed this law, and the victim's status does not matter anymore.
By a "common carrier," we mean either a railroad or subway. The common carrier owes its passengers some reasonable standard safety measures in its operations. The duty owed includes maintaining and repairing damaged areas.
The common carrier should not conduct negligence by exposing a passenger to danger. It should foresee ahead and offer protection.
How to Seek Compensation
Train and subway are public transport owned and managed by either private or government entities. You might be wondering whom to hold responsible in case of accidents. As a victim or a loved one to the victim of the train and subway accident, you have the right to file a claim for damages to cover medical expenses.
Inform one of our legal counsels at the personal injury law firm, do not suffer alone. We are here to fight for your rights. Most of these kinds of cases move a little slower through the court system. That is why an expert attorney is required to navigate and push through the different lawsuits against large municipal agencies.
Possible Compensatory Damages
Depending on your specific accident circumstances, you can determine the amount of compensation to receive. You have all the rights to recover full compensation provided you can prove the monetary losses value. The two main types of damages include:
- Compensatory damages: These damages are also known as monetary damages or pecuniary damages. They are meant to help the victim get financial stability and be able to cater to the hospital bills incurred via the accident. Compensation recovered from compensatory damages is used for:
- Current and future medical expenses such as ambulance rides, drugs prescribed, and physical therapy
- Pain and suffering brought about by emotional distress. This can only be granted if hard documentation showing psychiatric records is available to strengthen the claim.
- Where a victim dies, you can recover the damages for loss of companionship.
- Property damage that includes clothing and personal effects
- Lost wages while the victim is out of work due to the injuries incurred
- Loss of enjoyment of the victim's daily routine, recreation, and hobbies
- Non-compensatory damages: These damages can also be referred to as punitive damages and are rarely awarded. It is hard to come into terms with non-compensatory compensation after a cruel accident. The reasoning behind these damages is that it is ordered as a punishment to a malicious or reckless defendant. It also serves as a deterrent to other accident offenders.
There are specific time limits on different states when it comes to filing a compensation claim in a personal injury case. Claims against the government have particular time limits. Where a formal notice is required before the request. In other words, you must file a complaint as soon as you can to avoid losing out on the right to compensation.
Compensation if a Loved One Died After the Accident (Wrongful Death)
It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that happen often. Losing a loved one due to the train and subway accident, which could have been prevented, gives you the right to seek damages compensation through a wrongful death claim.
In the aftermath of such a devastating incident, families are in dire need of help as they deal with the harsh realities of losing a loved one. The support required is recovering expenses, lost wages, and future finances.
Death caused by neglect is called wrongful death. The key factors required to pursue a claim for the wrongful death are the identification of liable defendants and preserved evidence. This involves retaining proof after the accident case commenced as well as the attorney. This will make it easier to identify the cause of the wrongful death. Other essential elements include:
- The death
- Cause of the illegal act
- The cause of action heightened to cause death
- Decedent's distributees
- Immediate family survivors for representative appointment
Lawyers at the personal injury law firm have what it takes to handle wrongful death cases and individual injury cases. Your loved one might have been injured, and the injury eventually caused death. Our years of experience enable us to get you the survivor, the compensation that you deserve.
Upon being granted monetary compensation, there are various considerations put in place to determine the award. These factors show the appropriate payment for financial injuries that caused the victim's death. They include:
The considered distributees: distributees are the decedent's designated people to inherit the property. In this case, it is the immediate family spouses and children and, at times, parents. One of them becomes a plaintiff (personal representative) in the court for the proceedings of the wrongful death case.
When to start the lawsuit: Statute of limitations begins after a period of 2 years after the victim's death. This will also depend if the plaintiff is a minor. The toll could be negotiated with the help of an attorney concerning the suffering situations of the survivors, especially if the victim was the breadwinner.
Suffering and pain claim: the immediate family members have the right to recover decedent's expenses before the wrongful death from the moment of injury. However, there must be substantial evidence to prove pain and suffering. If there is a surviving spouse, the claim for conscious pain and suffering may properly seek damages.
Possible Statute of limitations for Filing a Lawsuit
As a victim of a train and subway accident, the law states that you should have time to sue the responsible party. The amount of time given is what is referred to as the "statute of limitations". The Statute of limitations differs from state to state and whether the involved party is a non-government or government entity. Failure to follow the stipulated time limits may hinder the victim from recovery. Some issues are frequently associated with train and subway accident lawsuits. They are:
Owner of Trains and Stations
Both private and authority subways share the same stations. It is critical to know the owner of the party involved in the accident. This is because it affects several factors when it comes to filing a lawsuit. These factors include the time frame to raise a claim and caps on damages that can be recovered.
This is a longstanding principle that states the government cannot be sued on its courts unless it consents with the lawsuit. In simple terms, the victim is barred from suing a state. Though not all states use sovereign immunity, some have waved it, and some use it to set caps on damages.
Notice of Claim
Most states require the victim to file a notice of the request in a specific period after the accident. It involves the creation of an either additional, shorter, or deadline time to act. Filing a notice of claim requires a month or two compared to statutes of limitations that run almost a year. Remember, filing a notice of claim is not the same as filing a lawsuit.
This is a frequent exercise used by the authorities to punish the defendants. They are faced with contractual obligations and mandatory coverage, including punitive damages that may have an impact on the victim's ability to recover.
Some circumstances may extend the Statute of limitations such as age and state of mind. In the case of a minor, the limitation period will be held until the minor is of age. If, at the time of the accident, the defendant suffered depression, the time limit will be extended until he or she is of sound mind.
This is another condition where the statute of limitations is extended. This rule represents a victim who did not know that he or she was injured or was not aware of the cause of injury. The time to file a lawsuit does not begin until such discoveries are made. For instance, a victim may get into an accident from the train and subway but does not feel the pain instantly. The victim seeks medical attention but there's no cause of alarm. After some time, the victim started having back pains. Only to be discovered it was as a result of the accident. The plaintiff has the right to file a lawsuit even if the Statute of limitations has expired.
It is challenging to meet the Statute of limitations for people with possible claims. However, with the help of an attorney from the personal injury attorney law firm, you get to know whether you meet the requirements to extend or toll the Statute of limitations. Act as soon as possible after your accident injury occurs, be it whether minor or significant. The attorney will help you pursue a lawsuit and reach a fair settlement.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You
While you may have the right to seek compensation, you need to focus on your recovery too. These cases are complex and pose a challenge to secure the recovery that you deserve. Luckily, hiring a lawyer from the personal injury attorney law firm grants you space to get back on your feet.
You need a legal team that is compassionate about your situation and can provide the best legal counsel to maximize your compensation. The compensation should include, other than medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages. This is the team that is even willing to visit you at your hospital bed or at home to discuss matters of the accident.
The best part is that we are aware of such cases and well versed with the rules and regulations that befall train and subway accidents. You cannot navigate through the situation on your own while nursing injuries. You need us because:
- We will fight for you every step of the way and come out with a successful payout.
- We will ensure that you are not to blame for your injuries
- We will gather statements from all available witnesses, injuries suffered, and equipment involved to have a strong base for your case.
- We will conduct an independent investigation of your accident and live no table unturned.
- We will ensure that all parties involved are put on notice and compensate you accordingly
- We will decide for you the injury worth and not the party responsible who would want to pay as little as possible.
To build a successful legal case involves expertise, experience, determination, and passion. Our attorneys possess all these character traits. As a team, we bring an unparalleled commitment to every case brought to us by our clients. We have always used that as our top secret to all our successful cases. We do not bow until the justice for the victim is served.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm Near Me
If you are a victim of a train and subway accident that caused you catastrophic injuries in California, get in touch with an attorney with decades of combined experience. Contact us soon after the misfortune to have a thorough investigation and identify helpful reports on the cause of the accident. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm will identify all parties responsibly and ensure you get fully compensated for your train and subway accident. Call us at 800-492-6718 for a case evaluation.