What Should I Do if I’m Hit by a Train?

What Should I Do if I’m Hit by a Train?

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What Should I Do if I’m Hit by a Train?

The stories run on nightly news channels and, if the incident is serious enough, land on the front page of the local daily newspaper. We are talking about train accidents that involve pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and passenger vehicles. The National Highway Safety Administration released a study that demonstrated a motorist is nearly 20 times more likely to die from the injuries caused by an accident with a train than in an accident with another motor vehicle. 

Trains move at relatively high speeds and they pack a punch because of their weight. Although public safety programs have helped reduce the number of train-motor vehicle accidents, train accidents remain a far too common event that produces serious injuries, as well as fatalities. If a train hit your motor vehicle, you might have a strong enough case to prove the railroad company, operator of the train, or the government agency responsible for maintaining the rail infrastructure should assume liability for causing you harm.

Knowing what to do if hit by a train starts by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. For more than 35 years, the skilled litigators at Morgan & Morgan have recovered more than $20 billion in monetary damages for our clients. We represent clients for every type of personal injury case, including cases that involve an accident between a train and a motor vehicle. Proving negligence on the part of another party requires the legal support of a law firm such as Morgan & Morgan that has established a proven record of getting our clients the compensation they deserve.

Schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about what you should do if hit by a train.

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  • What Are the Common Causes of Train Accidents?

    Most train accidents occur at railroad crossings, and in many cases, result from an impatient driver trying to beat the train. However, some train accidents are caused by factors directly related to the train or the company that owns the train.


    Negligence represents one of the most frequent causes of train accidents that do not involve an inpatient motorist trying to beat a train at a crossing. When we investigate train accident cases, our team of personal injury lawyers considers many different factors that lead us to discover which party should assume legal liability for causing this type of personal injury incident.

    The conductor, railroad company, or railroad maintenance employees can all be negligent in a train accident case. For example, the conductor of a train might have fallen asleep or missed a red signal that requires the train to stop until the tracks were clear for movement. A railroad company might be found guilty of negligence for operating a defective train. Employees that perform maintenance on railroad tracks have a legally binding duty of care to protect motorists and passengers against the devastating injuries that often develop after a train accident. 

    One of the major contributors to train accidents is the antiquated, decades-old infrastructure.

    Human Error

    An inexperienced conductor can make a wrong decision or perform a risky maneuver that puts motorists in harm’s way. As a form of negligence, human error is a separate category because it represents a significant percentage of the reasons why train accidents happen. Human error includes poor judgment, vision problems, impaired reactions, and basing decisions on outdated operational guidelines.

    Proving human error requires the legal expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney. If you sustained injuries as a result of a train accident, your legal counsel conducts interviews with witnesses, as well as the conductor of the train to determine whether human error caused your injuries.

    Mechanical Failure

    The conductor and railroad employees might be absolved of negligence. However, mechanical failure can cause a train to hit a motor vehicle. Railway companies are responsible for ensuring every train operates with fully functional parts. One of the priorities of investigators from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a train accident is to determine if the train contained defective parts.

    Trains operate with hundreds of moving parts, as well as under the guidance of a computer system that monitors the development of safety issues. The entire system must coordinate seamlessly to prevent train accidents from occurring.

    Defective Tracks

    Improperly maintained railroad tracks can force a train off the tracks. Although conductors must be aware of their surroundings at all times, it is difficult sometimes to spot defects in railroad tracks. Another issue is the objects left on railroad tracks. A derailment near a crossing can lead to several fatalities. Once a train loses its grip with railroad tracks, its powerful momentum makes it impossible to bring the train to a stop.

    Unprotected Crossings

    More than 80 percent of the railroad crossings in the United States do not have enough warning devices, such as gates, lights, and audio warnings. A driver of a motor vehicle might not detect an oncoming train because a crossing does not have the proper warning devices. Another problem at crossings is warning signals that malfunction or gates that fail to descend to the proper height. The responsibility for ensuring full protection at a railroad crossing can fall on one of several different public and private sector organizations.

    Working with a train accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan helps you discover which public or private sector entity should shoulder the blame for an unprotected railroad crossing.

  • What to Do if I’m Hit by a Train?

    When you think of a train accident, you probably think about the involvement of a freight train or train operated by Amtrak. Although freight and Amtrak trains are involved in accidents, commuter trains in the larger American cities also get involved in train accidents with motorists. If you sustained injuries that were caused by a train accident, you should follow a series of steps to build a strong enough case to file an insurance claim, as well as a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.

    Seek Medical Care

    Even if you suffered minor injuries that were caused by a train accident, you have to get medical attention to document every injury. If your injuries are serious, calling 911 alerts the nearest emergency response team of the extent of your health condition. Insurance companies expect victims of personal injury incidents to seek medical care immediately after a personal injury. Waiting a day or more to visit with a physician tells your insurance company that your injuries are not serious. Judges hearing civil lawsuits also expect to review documents that demonstrate you received medical care right after a train accident.

    Contact a Highly-Rated Personal Injury Attorney

    Getting legal support from a personal injury lawyer who specializes in handling train accident cases is essential if you expect to recover financial losses. Your legal counsel will receive copies of two reports. The law enforcement agency that arrived at the scene of the train accident immediately after the incident will file a formal report. Within the report, the law enforcement agency will describe what happened before, during, and after the incident, as well as attach documents that contain physical evidence.

    The second report filed will come from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which conducts its investigation within 24 hours of the train accident. Information presented by the NTSB typically carries more legal significance than the incident report filed by the law enforcement agency that arrived at the scene of the accident shortly after it happened.

    Speak With Witnesses

    If you are healthy enough to remain at the scene after a train accident, you should get the names and contact information of every witness. This includes any passengers in your car, the employees on the train, and the people that watched the accident unfold from their homes or motor vehicles. Your personal injury attorney interviews each witness to determine which ones can provide the most persuasive legal support that backs an insurance claim and a civil lawsuit.

    File a Convincing Insurance Claim

    You should wait until after meeting with one of the litigators from Morgan & Morgan before contacting your insurance company. Many insurance companies try to persuade policyholders to settle claims for less than what the policyholders deserve in compensation. The legal counsel you hire from Morgan & Morgan ensures you submit an insurance claim that includes overwhelmingly compelling evidence and the accounts of credible witnesses.

  • What Are the Types of Compensation Awarded for Train Accident Cases?

    Knowing what to do if hit by a train can help you receive compensation that covers your financial losses.

    Special Compensatory Damages

    Special compensatory damages take care of the costs that are directly associated with a train accident. You have the right to seek compensation for medical expenses, such as diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and rehabilitation sessions. Other medical expenses that are a part of special compensatory damages include prescription medications and the use of one or more assistive devices.

    If a train damaged your vehicle, you should file a claim that requests compensation for property damage. Getting hit by a train can produce serious and even life-threatening injuries that force you out of work for a prolonged period. You have the right to ask for compensation that covers lost wages.

    General Compensatory Damages

    It is not just the physical toll a train accident places on you. Emotional issues such as acute fear and anxiety can disrupt your life for years to come. General compensatory damages, such as for pain and suffering, do not cover tangible costs. For example, you do not receive a receipt for the loss of consortium. The personal injury lawyer we assign to your case calculates a value for general compensatory damages by using a formula that is based on the value of your special compensatory damages.

    Punitive Damages

    Judges award punitive damages not to compensate you for your injuries. Instead, punitive damages punish the party that committed one or more acts of negligence. Judges awarding punitive damages want to deter the defendant from committing the same act or acts of negligence again.

  • Learn More About What to Do if Hit by a Train

    Getting involved in a train accident can leave both traumatic physical and emotional scars. Instead of dealing with your insurance company and preparing for a civil lawsuit on your own, you should contact one of the state-licensed personal injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan to receive the best legal support. We also help grieving family members gather and organize the evidence they need to file a persuasive wrongful death lawsuit.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today to learn more about what to do if you are hit by a train.

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