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Railroads, trains, and the equipment used to run passenger and freight trains can be dangerous. When negligence on a railway causes an accident or malfunction, workers,passengers, and bystanders alike can suffer injuries. In Austin, many residents make regular use of the buses and trains operated by CapMetro and MetroRail. The number of railroad accidents that occur in and around the city can be surprising – in 2014, 104 people were injured and 19 people died in Texas railroad accidents. That year, Texas held the record for the most railroad crossing accidents in the nation.
If you decide to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages, be sure to do so in a timely manner. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. Once two years pass after your accident, you generally cannot file a personal injury claim and receive compensation.
Through your personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for the following, your medical bills, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering damages, which include all damages that cannot be quantified like your lost wages and medical bills. Examples of pain and suffering damages include permanent disfigurement, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.
Examples of railroad accidents that can injure passengers include, Derailments, Collisions with other trains, motor vehicles, stationary objects on the track, suicide, or a careless pedestrian on the track. Collisions, sudden stops, and derailments can be the result of human error or mechanical failure.
Seek immediate medical attention if you need it. Otherwise, take photographs of the scene and your injury. You will need these later to support your personal injury claim.
Take down the contact information for any witnesses to the accident, who could be other passengers or bystanders. Then, talk to the nearest railroad employee to discuss filing an accident report. Keep a copy of this report to use later to support your personal injury claim.
Regardless of your perceived severity of your injury, seek medical attention as soon as you can after the accident. Prompt medical attention will mean an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for you.
Which party is liable for your railroad accident damages depends on the type of accident that occurred and why it occurred. If the accident was the result of a faulty part on the train, liability could lie with that part’s manufacturer, the train’s operator, or both. Determining which party is liable in this scenario requires a victim’s lawyer to determine whether the railroad’s operator knew or should have known about the faulty part and could have taken action to repair or replace it or if the manufacturer knew or should have known about the faulty part and issued a recall for it.
In many cases, trains are not owned by the same companies that own the rails they travel. The trains’ owners are responsible for their safe operation, and the tracks’ owners are responsible for their maintenance. When an accident could have been prevented through greater care on the track owner’s part, the track owner may be liable for victims’ damages. For accidents caused by human operational error, the company that operates the train may be liable.
It is also possible for a third party, such as a construction company or a motorist, to be liable for a railroad accident victim’s damages. For example, if a construction company was contracted to build or repair a section of track or a railroad station and an accident occurs because it did not take care to build it to safety code, the construction company may be liable for the victim’s damages. In another scenario, a drunk motorist who drives onto a railroad track and causes a collision can be liable for the victims’ resulting damages.
Your lawyer can help you file and support your personal injury claim with evidence collected from the scene of the accident and interactions in the days and weeks that followed. Evidence to support your claim can include eyewitness testimonies, your doctor’s testimony about your recovery, photographs of the accident, the official accident report, and documentation showing your lost wages and reduced work capacity.
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, you have the right to seek compensation from the negligent party through a personal injury claim. To learn more about filing and pursuing a personal injury claim, contact our team at DC Law to schedule your free, confidential legal consultation with one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at our firm. We are here to answer your questions and guide you through a personal injury claim process.