Trains and subways are massive pieces of machinery that provide an extremely valuable service for American workers. But unfortunately, negligent maintenance or negligent operators contribute to a number of train accidents every year, often resulting in serious injuries or even death. Even a relatively “minor” train accident can have serious repercussions, including whiplash injuries and broken bones.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority alone provides more than 2.6 billion trips every year, preventing about 17 million tons of pollutants from being released by motor vehicles every year. With such a large responsibility on their shoulders and so many passengers to take care of, train operators have a professional duty to transport them safely from one stop to another. If an operator causes harm to passengers or pedestrians, he or she should be held accountable for their negligence.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are committed to pursuing justice. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the train accident, using our resources to interview witnesses, collect police reports and maintenance records, and obtain medical evidence. Our years of experience have given us the tools and resources to stand up to corporations, manufacturers, transit authority, and opposing attorneys alike. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury as a result of a train accident, contact us today for a free consultation. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers.
Types of Train Accidents
There are a number of types and causes of train accidents, including:
- Collisions between a train and another train
- Collisions between a train and a motor vehicle
- Collisions at a railroad crossing
- Falls (such as when someone is trapped underneath a train car)
- Defective warning systems, such as defective signals or gates
- Negligent operation, such as failure to sound the horn or use lights when approaching a crossing
- Debris in the way of the tracks
Liability for a Train Accident
Train accidents are often complicated to sort through. There are multiple parties that could be at fault, and train operators must follow a number of laws, standards, and industry regulations.
Train accidents are also unique in that they can affect a wide range of people. A train accident can involve just one injured person, such as when someone falls off the platform and is run over, or it can affect hundreds of people, such as when a train full of people derails.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the liable party in a train accident case could be:
- The train operator
- Train workers
- The maintenance staff responsible for upkeep of the train
- The train company
- The manufacturer of train components
The best way to determine whether or not you have a claim—and who the claim should focus on—is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have the resources to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, including collecting witness statements, interviewing train operators and maintenance staff, and collecting medical records. The results of this investigation will show who and what was responsible for the accident and who should be named in the personal injury suit.
Damages in a Train Accident Case
If you are injured in a train accident, you could be eligible to recover money in a personal injury lawsuit. In order to prove your claim, you will have to prove three things: you were injured, the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, and that display of negligence was the direct cause of your injuries (whether the injuries are physical, financial, or emotional).
Damages in a personal injury case are divided into two categories: compensatory and punitive damages. The vast majority of personal injury cases deal with compensatory damages, which compensate the injured person for losses suffered as a result of the accident. Compensatory damages in a train accident could include:
- Current and future medical treatment: includes hospitalization costs, ongoing treatment expenses, rehabilitation costs, and any expected future medical expenses
- Lost wages: compensation for wages lost while out of work due to the accident, as well as decreased earning capacity in the future if the injuries will continue to affect the victim
- Property damage: compensation for damage to the victim’s car, clothing, or other personal effects as a result of the accident
- Loss of enjoyment of life: covers loss of enjoyment of day-to-day activities, recreation, hobbies, and exercise
- Pain and suffering: the physical and emotional pain caused by the accident, including the pain of the physical injuries and ongoing emotional trauma
- Emotional distress: the psychological effects of an injury, such as anxiety, sleep loss, or fear (typically awarded in severe accidents)
- Wrongful death: compensation for the family or estate of someone killed by a negligent driver
It is important to remember that there are strict time limits when it comes to filing a personal injury case. In New Jersey, there is a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. In other words, you must file your claim within two years of the accident if you choose to do so. If you do not file a claim within two years, you will lose out on the right to compensation for the accident.
However, claims against the government have special time limits involved. If the liable party was a government agency, such as the Federal Transit Administration or New Jersey Transit, you must give formal notice of your claim within 90 days of the accident. After filing the initial notice, you must wait six months to file a lawsuit. During this six-month waiting period, the government agency will most likely reach out to you to try and resolve your claim. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, you can decide whether to resolve your claim with the government agency or file a formal lawsuit.
Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are proud to represent the injured throughout New Jersey and New York. Since opening our doors in 1974, we have been committed to the highest standards of excellence in personal injury litigation. Our million-dollar and multi-million-dollar settlements have earned us inclusion in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, of which fewer than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers are members. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi was named to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Firms list of 2013, and Michael Maggiano and Christopher DiGirolamo have received the highest possible ratings as car accident attorneys by the AVVO Lawyer Ratings service.
With more than 80 years’ worth of combined trial experience, we are prepared to investigate your claim and fight to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, contact us to discuss your legal options. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.