The minutes that tick by after an Amtrak explosion determine the outcome of your personal injury claim. Although it appears a slam dunk case, the truth is any type of Amtrak accident is a difficult claim to process. Amtrak and the insurance company that represents it are both large companies that employ the best litigators and claim adjusters to minimize financial losses.
If you received one or more injuries because of an Amtrak accident, especially one that involved an explosion, you should follow a series of steps that help you understand what to do after an Amtrak explosion.
Yes, an Amtrak explosion should generate a flood of calls to 911. The conductor and the team of operators riding the train have access to a communication system that alerts law enforcement and the Department of Transportation (DOT) that an explosion occurred. Nonetheless, if you are physically able to call 911, you should do it as soon as possible after the accident.
Getting 911 involved is critical to discovering if Amtrak should assume some, most, or all of the legal liability for the accident. Law enforcement completes a report that includes persuasive evidence and an accurate timeline of events. Representatives from the DOT conduct an even more thorough investigation to determine what caused the Amtrak explosion.
Take Care of Your Injuries
Calling 911 also automatically activates the emergency response system. Because of its powerful force, an explosion can produce several different serious injuries which require emergency care. If an Amtrak accident forces you to an emergency room, you should gather and organize the documents that demonstrate the extent of your injuries.
Getting medical care should be your priority. An explosion can cause one or more potentially life-threatening injuries.
- Brain trauma
- Severe fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Second and third-degree burns
- Inhalation of toxic chemicals
- Damaged spinal cord
- Bruised internal organs
- Deep lacerations
Even if you feel well enough to talk with law enforcement, make sure to get checked out later by your physician. Some injuries, such as a concussion or damage to an internal organ, do not develop symptoms until a few hours or even a day after an Amtrak explosion.
Get Yourself and Other Workers/Passengers to a Safe Location
An explosion can disrupt the thought process. After an explosion, you need to shake off the shock of the incident and spend time checking on your fellow workers or passengers. Alert EMS whenever you come across an injured worker or passenger. After accounting for every worker and passenger, you should get to a safe location as quickly as possible.
One explosion is often followed by a second or multiple explosions.
Putting together a convincing insurance claim or civil lawsuit requires you to collect and organize evidence. Although the scene will be chaotic, you should wait until things calm down a bit before obtaining the names of other passengers, as well as the names of any witnesses. If the Amtrak explosion happened in an urban area, you might have several witnesses that can provide you with key supporting information.
Although you will not get a copy of the official law enforcement report at the scene of the accident, you should get the names of the responding officers and every representative for the DOT. Ask law enforcement personnel where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. The accident report is the key piece of evidence that you must file with your insurance company and a civil court clerk. Law enforcement will take dozens of photographs of the accident scene, but you should take photos as well.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If you feel up to it, try to get in touch with your insurance agent while you are at the scene of the Amtrak explosion. Explaining what happened as soon as possible after the train accident ensures you provide the most accurate information. You also benefit from getting your claim processed. Your insurance agent should describe the claim process, which includes explaining the deadlines for filing certain documents.