Train and subway accidents are not as frequent as car accidents, but they can be catastrophic once they occur. There is a high possibility of lifetime effects once you have incurred devastating injuries. This makes it highly necessary to seek compensation from the party that is liable for the train or subway accident that you were involved in. Your legal inexperience cannot help you get the compensation that you deserve unless you hire a personal injury attorney. We at Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney offer exceptional legal services to anyone seeking compensation after a train or subway accident.
Causes of Train and Subway Accidents
It is necessary to learn about the causes of train and subway accidents since it helps investigate who is at fault for the injuries that you sustain. Train and subway accidents take three common forms. This includes:
- Hitting pedestrians on tracks or platforms
- Collision with other trains
Whether you were waiting for a train or a passenger, you may suffer severe injuries from a train and a subway accident. Below is a detailed view of the common causes of train and subway accidents.
Railroad accidents that happen due to negligence can involve different groups. Part of the fault can be the railway company involved in managing the train or subway or an individual employee. Another cause can be the negligence of a government agency responsible for the management of subway and train operations within your location.
An example of railway negligence includes an incorrectly operating crossing arm and the operator's failure to turn on the signal light. The use of outdated technology can also be part of negligence associated with this kind of accident.
An inexperienced conductor has a high chance of causing a train or subway accident. Even those with experience may make a mistake that ends up harming the passengers and other people relying on the railway lines. Another issue related to human error is fatigue. A fatigued conductor cannot make sound judgment, increasing the possibility of causing an accident.
Reckless Pedestrians and Drivers
It is not always the fault of the train operator or company when someone is involved in a train and subway accident. Sometimes a distracted pedestrian or driver can be on a train track at the wrong time leading to the accident. Drivers can also be liable for the accidents if they leave their vehicles parked on a train track or when trying to beat a train when crossing a crossroads.
The train operators, railway employees, or the company itself can do everything within their capacity to follow the required safety procedure, and a train accident can still happen. It is rare to experience mechanical failure and defective parts in a train or subway but can sometimes occur.
Trains have a complex system and moving parts, all working together to provide the locomotive and electric power that we all know about. If some of the pieces of the equipment do not work well, this will lead to a deadly accident.
Car accident statistics have shown that driving recklessly can lead to severe injuries and even death. Trains are not different, and speedy trains have demonstrated that they have worse consequences in a derailment. This kind of situation is not quite common, but it can end up maiming a large number of people when it happens.
Obstruction is a common issue that happens along with rail and subway tracks. Foreign objects can significantly derail a train when it passes by, leading to an accident. Conductors should be aware of the surroundings to manage a potentially dangerous situation as quickly as possible. However, in some cases, they might fail to see these obstacles and stop on time, leading to a collision.
Derailment occurs when a train runs off its rail due to a collision or another object, a conductor error, broken railings, mechanical failure, or defective wheels. A derailment does not necessarily mean that the train has to leave its track significantly, but a minor derailment can also cause an accident. However, a severe derailment can be catastrophic and usually happens when the train is at high speed.
Unprotected Railway Crossing
Many railway crossings do not have adequate devices such as lights and gates that protect people from any kind of accident. Therefore, you will experience a lot of accidents at unprotected crossing due to the following:
- Poor visibility
- Driver trying to race the train
- Driver inebriation
- Malfunctioning signals
- Obstacles in drivers view
- Failure of the conductor to sound the alarm
Stalled Cars on The Track
It is rare to find a car that has stalled on a railway grade crossing. However, it can happen when drivers stall out when they slow down to cross a bumpy grade. If this happens to you, you should try to start it again immediately. If a train rapidly approaches and there is no time to save your car, you can end up in a catastrophic accident.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries Sustained in Train and Subway Accidents
There are different types of catastrophic injuries that might result from a train or a subway accident. Catastrophic injuries are more severe than other types of injuries and can affect a victim for a lifetime. That's why a victim needs far more compensation and medical attention than a less serious personal injury. Here are a few examples of catastrophic injuries.
Broken bones or fractures are common types of injuries that happen in an accident. They vary according to the severity of the fracture. The most severe one is referred to as an open or compound fracture. This kind of fracture involves the penetration of the skin. It is harrowing and might end up with the risk of an infection or other health complications if it is not promptly treated. Fractures can affect different types of the body depending on the nature of the accident. One of the severe kinds of fracture is the rib fracture. A severe rib fracture might involve complications such as the puncturing of the lungs by a broken rib.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury or TBI is caused by a blunt force trauma on the head. This could lead to bleeding, swelling, or inflammation of the brain. TBI victims could suffer from short-term symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and pain. Long term symptoms include difficulty understanding language, vision loss, tinnitus, impaired sense, and cognitive impairment.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
The neck and spinal cord are crucial parts of the body. Any kind of injuries on them would lead to fatal outcomes. Some of the severe consequences of the neck and spinal cord injuries include paralysis, loss of coordination, incontinence, among other effects. A victim might need specialized care for his or her lifetime due to this kind of injury.
When your leg or hand is found unfit for your use, they might end up amputated. Amputation involves removing a limb when it is severely injured after an accident and cannot be treated. Most people who need to undergo amputation require prosthetic aids to help them retain their usual reliance on the limb. This might leave the person with the dissatisfaction of life and emotional distress.
Brachial plexus refers to a condition that involves the damaging of the nerves in your arms, chest area, and shoulders. It is similar to spinal cord injury, but it affects the upper region of your body. Once the nerves of the upper body have been affected, you can end up with debilitating results. In a worst-case scenario, you might end up paralyzed, loss of function of the hands, extreme pain, and stiffness in the joints.
Loss of Hearing or Sight
You can lose your hearing or sight out of a train or subway accident. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, might significantly affect your eyesight or hearing. It is quite expensive to correct this kind of symptoms since it might involve a non-surgical procedure such as eye rehab therapy in sight loss and hearing aid if you have suffered from hearing loss.
This is another common type of injury that can result from a train or subway accident. The most severe type of facial trauma is contusion or intracranial hemorrhage. A contusion occurs when there is a direct blow on the underlying muscle or tissue without breaking the skin. If the bleeding is not quickly treated, it can lead to brain damage. Most severe facial injury is accompanied by traumatic brain injury.
Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
Permanent scarring and disfigurement can result from any injuries that involve the open part of the body. It can occur on the neck, face, or arms. It can be expensive to correct permanent scarring or disfigurement since it involves complex skin treatment procedures.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event such as a train and a subway accident. Some of the possible symptoms may include severe anxiety, flashbacks, and uncontrollable thought about the accident. It might take a long time and a lot of expenses to cope with this kind of injury.
Compensatory Damages in Train and Subway Accidents
Most damages incurred in a personal injury are classified as compensatory. This means that these damages are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for the suffered loss. Compensatory damages do not necessarily help offset every consequence of a catastrophic injury but are a reasonable way to reimburse a victim for the losses sustained from an accident. Here is a rundown of various types of compensatory damages that are common in train and subway accidents.
Medical expenses are usually the most substantial part of compensatory damages. Medical expenses include all the costs incurred due to the train or subway accident that you incurred. It also includes future medical treatment and care if you need such services. The following are some of the medical expenses that you need:
- Hospital stays
- Ambulance cost
- Prosthetic devices
- Medical appointments
- Cognitive therapy if you sustained a brain injury
- Needed in-home care services
Loss of Income
A train or subway accident can leave its victim unable to work temporarily or permanently. If that is your case, you should recover the damages incurred for the incurred losses. Calculating the income amount is a straightforward process since it involves an economic aspect. If you are left with a permanent injury, you need to calculate the expenses incurred. However, it is a complicated process that requires determining life expectancy, using tables, and damage formulas.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering legally defined the mental or physical distress that results from an accident. In a catastrophic accident, you would likely suffer significant pain and suffering, including mental and emotional damage such as stress or anxiety. There must be some pain associated with the pain and suffering and requires a certain period of consciousness during the injury to make a claim.
Loss of Affection or Companionship
Loss of consortium is a legal definition used to describe the spouse's inability to have a healthy marital relationship or loss of sexual pleasure. A person whose spouse has been injured after a train or subway accident can claim loss of consortium if his or her partner cannot participate in a sexual relationship either temporarily or permanently. If the individual or entity that caused the victim's injury is found to have acted with negligence, the at-fault party is legally bound to compensate the spouse for loss of consortium.
Please note, loss of consortium does not only cover issues to deal with sexual intimacy. It also involves loss of care to the family of the accident victim. This includes taking care of the children, helping the spouse to do certain tasks, and doing house chores.
Wrongful death is another type of damage that can be brought forward by a family member of the killed as a result of a train or a subway accident. Wrongful death can be claimed by a close family member of the person who suffered wrongful death after the accident. Family members who might bring wrongful death damage claims include:
- The deceased person's children, spouse, and parents
- Any relative or adopted siblings who are partially or wholly dependent on the deceased for any support services
If the closest family member to the deceased but his or her parents were not married, the child can file a wrongful death claim if his or her mother dies. If the victim was the child’s father, the child has a chance to recover the damages if only his or her father had made a formal recognition that the child was his and had decided to support the child.
A wrongful death claim helps the surviving member of the deceased to receive compensation for:
- The worth of the support and service that the deceased would have provided
- Emotional distress suffered due to loss of a child (if the child is the victim)
- Medical and funeral that was paid for the deceased person
The estate of the deceased person might recover the following damages:
- Lost wages, earning and other benefits, including the lost earnings that the dead would have reasonably expected during his or her lifetime
- Lost potential net accumulations of the deceased’s estate, or reasonable earnings that the estate would have collected if the deceased person would have survived
- Medical and funeral expenses paid directly by the estate
punitive damages are awarded to a victim if the accident involved was a result of gross negligence of the at-fault party. In a train and subway accident, punitive damages can be awarded if the accident affected a large number of victims, and there is a clear indication of negligence. Common examples of carelessness that led to such accidents include:
- Getting dragged along with the train
- Wet and slippery surfaces caused by leaking pipes
- The icing of the subway outdoor steps and platforms
- Poor maintenance
- Assault by security negligence
- Significant train electrical faults
How to Recover your Damages in Train and Subway Accident Compensation Claims
The process of recovering damages after a train and subway accident involves several steps. It is essential to consider these steps if you want to get the best results in your claim. Here is a breakdown of what you have to do while recovering damages after a train and a subway accident in Florida.
Identify The At-Fault Party
It is hard to claim compensation for your injuries if you are not aware of the party that is liable for the accident. In a train accident, several parties or entities can be held liable for an accident. These includes:
- The train company
- The company responsible for repairing the train or subway
- Local authorities, depending on their responsibility in the train and subway operation
- Other relevant authorities
The reason or cause behind the accident will help in identifying the at-fault party. That's why you and your attorney should make a thorough investigation of the accident to determine the liable party effectively.
Prove that the Other Party was Liable for the Accident
As much as you put a lot of effort into identifying the at-fault party, you should prove whether the party that you have identified indeed takes the liability of the accident. In Florida, the term used to identify this kind of party is "common carrier."
A common carrier is defined as a person or entity engaged in the transport of persons over the state highway and provides transportation over a regular or irregular route. A common carrier is expected to have a higher duty of care to its passenger. The duty of care begins and ends when the passenger has boarded and safely alighted from the conveyance. There are different arguments about when the relationship between the passenger and carrier begins. However, of importance is the responsibility that a common carrier has and can extend up to the safety of the place that the passenger has to board or terminate the conveyance as in the case of a train or subway station.
Based on the explanation of the common carrier's duty of care, his or her fault can be established through his or her negligence. This is legally defined as a breach of duty of care. You can confirm this aspect by identifying different reasons for the train or subway accident.
Prove that the At-fault Party was Liable for your Injuries and Damages
There should be a direct relationship between your injuries and the train or subway accident, to hold the at-fault party liable for your injuries and damages. This means that your former injuries would raise a significant concern in the compensation process and would not be compensated. You must prove that the at-fault party breach of duty of care led to your injuries. You can verify this through various pieces of evidence such as:
- Camera footage of the scene of the accident
- Police report
- Doctor's report
- Eyewitnesses' testimonies
- A valid assessment report from an expert witness
Once you have proven that the injuries were a result of the accident, you should go further into proving that you suffered damages from the injuries sustained from the accident. You might need the following when establishing this fact:
- Medical receipts
- A psychological treatment bill if you went through counseling sessions to handle your emotional distress
- A valid statement from your employer showing that you lost your income due to the injuries
- A legitimate financial statement that shows your future medical and lost income
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
There is no quality replacement for your trauma after a train and subway accident. However, you can be compensated for the injuries and damages that you have suffered by hiring a professional accident attorney. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we offer exceptional legal services to assist our clients in presenting a strong claim against the at-fault party. Our extensive knowledge of personal injury cases and computer simulation capabilities gives us the confidence to overcome any defense that we face. Call us anytime at 904-800-7557 and schedule a free no-obligation consultation.