Trains and subways are an essential part of the country’s economy. The nation’s transportation infrastructure depends greatly on trains. Generally, it’s approximated that there are about 2000 miles of operational railway lines in Nevada alone. Most of these rail lines cross over public roads repeatedly. Whereas the trains using these rails are driven safely, sadly, train crashes still occur. Any accident can be life-altering, but train and subway crashes can be particularly devastating since they result in catastrophic injuries and sometimes even death.
If you’ve sustained a catastrophic injury because of a train & subway accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover damages. To find out for sure, reach out to us at the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, and we will explain everything to you.
Defining Catastrophic Train and Subway Accidents
A catastrophic train & subway crash is one that will leave you with severe injuries that cause permanent damage. The injuries may affect your ability to carry out the tasks required to maintain your quality of life also impact your ability to work. Examples of severe injuries resulting from catastrophic train and subway collisions include:
- Spinal injuries
- Limb dismemberment
- Severe burns
- Injuries leading to deafness or blindness
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury
- Organ damage
Why Do Catastrophic Train & Subway Accidents Happen?
Nevada train & subway crashes occur for several different reasons. Running a train is a complex process, and many different persons and systems are involved. For the train companies to account for this, they must always concentrate on protecting their passengers, employees, and the public in general.
When a company puts profits before safety, severe accidents can be the result. It’s only a few train crashes that are truly unpreventable. The majority of them occur because avoidable mistakes were committed. Common reasons why train crashes happen are:
Train Conductor Mistakes
If the train conductor lacks skills, train collisions can easily arise. Even the conductors who have worked in this industry for a considerable amount of time might commit mistakes that hurt other people, like passengers and employees. Another developing issue with both newly-hired and experienced conductors is exhaustion. They can’t run the train securely if they are fatigued, yet they sometimes do it anyway because of pressure from the company and their supervisors.
Human error has been and still is a common cause of any collision. From vision issues to impaired reactions to poor judgment, these factors may play a role in train disasters.
Reckless Drivers and Pedestrians
Train companies and operators are not always to blame for train accidents. At times, a distracted or reckless pedestrian can cause an accident by crossing or standing on the railway lines at the wrong time. Or, a motorcyclist, car/truck driver can cause a train crash by leaving his/her auto parked on the railway line or when attempting to beat the train at a level crossing.
The company, railway employees, or operators in charge of a train can do all that is within their capability to adhere to all the necessary safety procedures. Yet, a train crash can still occur. Defective parts and mechanical failure are rare occurrences compared to other train crash causes, but they occasionally occur.
Trains are huge machines installed with several moving parts and complex systems. All these different systems have to work together flawlessly to provide electric and locomotive power. If even a single piece of safety equipment, like, a rail signal or guidance equipment, such as a rail switch, fails, a deadly collision may result.
Repeatedly, car crash data proves that operating an auto at a higher than usual speed can result in severe injuries and fatalities. This is no exception to trains. Most recent train accident reports indicated that the speedy the train is, the worse the repercussions if a collision occurs, and the more significant the chance of derailment.
Defective Railway Lines
Obstruction is one of the common problems with the railway lines and may lead to a train derailment. Foreign obstacles left carelessly at the path where a train passes can be fatal. Conductors should always know their surroundings to control a possibly dangerous situation safely and quickly. However, in certain cases, an operator may fail to notice these objects in time to prevent a crash.
A derailment occurs when the train runs off its rail, either due to colliding with a foreign obstacle, an operator error, broken rail lines, mechanical track failure, or faulty wheels. A derailment does not necessarily imply the train leaves the tracks— other cases might be minor. But a severe derailment could be fatal if it happens when the train is traveling at a higher than the recommended speed.
Unprotected Railway Crossings
Most of the level crossings do not have adequate warning signs like gates and lights, and most train collisions happen at unprotected level crossings. Crashes at this point most often occur due to:
- Poor visibility
- Driver intoxication/inebriation
- Driver distraction
- Motorist trying to beat the train
- Obstacles blocking a motorist’s view
- Malfunctioning signals
- Train operator failing to sound the alarm
Unfortunately, some people opt to commit suicide by jumping before a train or standing on the rail lines. Sadly, this desperate and tragic act also places other lives like emergency responders, bystanders, passengers, and train crews in danger.
Ultimately, as per the Nevada statute, the party that’s to blame for the train collision will be held liable for the resulting damages. For instance, if the train company contributed to the accident that left you with catastrophic injuries, then you could proceed against them legally and have them compensate you.
Other reasons for train accidents include:
- Lack of adequate employee training
- Poor hiring practices by the train companies
- Poor maintenance of the railway lines and tracks
- Overloading of the train cars
- Poor maintenance of the train
- Weather conditions
- Collapsed bridges
Catastrophic Train Collisions Can Have Several Victims
If a commuter train crashes, there might be passengers aboard who are placed at substantial risk. And in case an industrial train is involved in an accident, there might be workers aboard whose safety is placed at significant risk. Regardless, any person who was aboard a train at the time of a crash should consider taking action to receive just compensation for his/her damages and loss.
The most catastrophic train crashes involve collisions with autos at level crossings. When collisions like this happen, the people aboard the subway or train might be alright or suffer less severe injuries. But the occupants onboard the impacted vehicle almost always suffer severe harm and losses. For instance, a train might strike a passing auto at a highway crossway. Even though this ought to never happen, it often does. An accident like this requires an immediate and thorough investigation to establish who carries the blame for it.
Even worse, trains are hazardous for motorcycle riders. A motorcyclist is characteristically exposed to most of the elements. If a train strikes him/her at a highway crossing or is knocked when the train derails, the arising injuries could be indeed catastrophic.
What to Do After Involvement in a Train or Subway Accident
If a train crash occurs, you may suddenly feel scared and out of control. Taking the following steps will help control your experience, and they will be essential when you decide to take legal action:
- Seek immediate medical treatment: Train crashes typically involve fatal or severe injuries. If you’re capable, call 911 for emergency medical attention. Even if you are left without any physical harm, you may have suffered internal injuries, which won’t show until a scan is conducted. Also, particular physical injuries will not reveal themselves until several hours or days later after the accident. Therefore, you must still go for a medical checkup. Apart from looking after your wellbeing, seeking medical attention ensures that the extent of your injuries is documented, which helps when bringing a claim.
- Gather proof: Photos can usually be a key in determining what transpired in a collision. If you can, take as many photographs as possible of the scene of the accident and your injuries. Other pieces of evidence you should collect include the names and contact addresses of any eyewitnesses and auto drivers on the site, the license plate number of any vehicle involved in the crash, names and contact info of the train operator and other accident victims. In case you are incapable of doing all this, have someone else do it for you, and preserve the evidence as it would help your case.
- Contact your insurance company and inform them about the crash as soon as you can.
- Retain a personal injury lawyer: Because train collisions are incredibly complex, you should have a skilled injury attorney by your side to assist you through the claim process. An attorney could help you gather proof, hire a crash reconstruction expert or other train-related experts, negotiate with the insurance provider, and help you to draft a strong injury suit. Your attorney can also help you determine the liable party. Remember, a train crash case could have several responsible parties like another auto driver, the train conductor, company, manufacturer, etc.
- Keep records: Like in any other collision, keep records of all the medical treatments, physical or rehabilitative sessions, and results of the tests you underwent. Remember also to record all the days you missed going to work and other financial costs the crash might have caused.
Liability in Catastrophic Train & Subway Accidents
Trains & subways are common carriers since they transport cargo and people at a cost. Consequently, they’re generally held at a higher standard of care compared to other vehicles. This means they have the legal responsibility to ensure the safety of the passengers, cargo, employees, and other people like road users. Despite the efforts made by these common carriers, train and subway collisions still occur due to various parties’ negligent acts.
Nevada law provides that any party whose negligent acts are the direct cause of a train or subway crash that resulted in your injuries will be held responsible. There are several potentially liable parties in these kinds of collisions. They include train operators, conductors, manufacturers, transportation authorities, designers, engineers, and the company. All these parties have the legal duty to maintain or repair trains, subways, and stations and create a secure environment for all commuters. With help from an attorney, you’ll be capable of establishing who is accountable for your injuries and determining how much you ought to be compensated.
Compensation for Train & Subway Crash Victims
If you’ve been hurt in a subway or train accident, whether you were on board as the train passenger or employee, you deserve to be compensated fully and fairly. The same applies even if you were a vehicle occupant, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. However, obtaining a just settlement offer can be challenging. Train companies are colossal business operations, and when it comes to crash cases, they’re often represented by even bigger insurance providers. These big insurance providers do everything possible to have victims settle their cases for much less than they’re worth.
Don’t allow an insurer to take advantage of your situation. Our skilled attorneys can help you seek compensation for everything you deserve as per the personal injury law. Particularly, we might be capable of helping you obtain compensation for:
- Current and future medical expenses and bills
- Any damages to the vehicle
- Costs related to psychological and physical therapy
- Long- and short-term disability
- Loss of limb or disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain & suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- If you are married, your partner may be eligible to recover damages for loss of consortium due to your injuries.
Note that the size and type of compensation you will receive depend on the crash’s precise facts. Your lawyer may be able to break down for you the losses and damages you could sue for in your lawsuit.
Nevada’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
As per Nevada’s modified comparative negligence rule, you can still be eligible to recover damages even if you’re partly to blame for the train or subway crash, provided you are 50% or less at fault for the collision. If you are 51% or more to blame, you won’t be allowed to sue for damages. However, even though you’re allowed to recover compensation when you’re partly to blame, your final settlement amount will be reduced by your percentage of the fault. The more liability you bear, the little your compensation amount will be. For instance, if your compensation amount is $200,000, but you are 50% at fault, your final settlement will be $100,000. That is, your initial amount will be reduced by 50%.
Because it may often be challenging to determine who is at fault for the catastrophic train accident and the degree of guilt to be placed on the part, you have to seek advice from a skilled injury attorney before deciding on anything. Your attorney will review the facts surrounding your case, inform you if it’s worth pursuing, and then give an estimate of the possible amount of your final settlement.
Wrongful Death Claims in Train & Subway Accidents
Unfortunately, train crashes may result in fatalities. That’s why any train company must operate its fleet with the greatest extent of safety into consideration. If a train collision was the reason for the demise of your family member, you ought to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss filing a wrongful death claim.
After the devastating tragedy of losing your loved family member, it’s undoubtedly hard to think of any legal matters. But under Nevada statute, you have limited time to bring a wrongful death suit. Additionally, the more you delay filing a claim/lawsuit, the greater the likelihood that crucial proof will be tampered with or lost. This is where a lawyer comes in. He or she will help you file your lawsuit on time to seek damages for wrongful death. If the claim is successful, you will receive compensation for:
- Loss of the deceased’s projected and current income
- Death costs, including burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of the decedent’s benefits, like, insurance coverage
- Loss of companionship, love, affection, guidance, and consortium
- Medical expenses for the treatment of the victim’s injuries before their demise
Whereas no compensation amount can make up for your loved one’s demise, a just monetary relief may help you come to terms with the loss and enable you to take care of the remaining family members. Let your lawyer worry about the legal matters involved with filing your wrongful death claim, while you concentrate on your wellbeing and that of your family and friends.
The Statute of Limitations to File a Train and Subway Accident Lawsuit
If you decide to sue the negligent party in a subway or train accident, you have to do that before the statute of limitations expires. A statute of limitations is the period within which you are supposed to proceed against the at-fault party. In Nevada, one has only two years to file a train or subway accident claim/lawsuit.
Why an Attorney is Essential in a Train & Subway Accident Case
A catastrophic train and subway accident lawsuit isn’t a matter you should try to handle by yourself. Instead, you have to hire a skilled lawyer to guide you through the process. Here is why:
They Know the Claim Process
The claims or lawsuit process for catastrophic train & subway accidents can be confusing and complex, mainly if you’ve never been there before. There’s paperwork you have to file, letters to reply to, and proof you need to submit. If you’re handling all these on your own, the process could quickly turn into an overwhelming one.
But if you’re working with an attorney who understands the process, it will become much more straightforward and streamlined. A lawyer’s knowledge of the claim process enables them to prepare documents properly before the deadline and have the necessary proof ready to argue your case. In short, a lawyer will ensure that your process to your deserved compensation runs smoothly.
In the process of the catastrophic train or subway accident lawsuit, you’ll undoubtedly receive plenty of settlement offers from the negligent party’s insurance company. If you’re dealing with your case on your own, it’ll be your call to determine whether or not the settlement deal you are being offered is favorable enough. If it isn’t, you’ll have to find a way to negotiate with the insurance adjuster until he/she agrees to grant you more money.
If you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company effectively on your behalf. They know precisely how to have them take their low settlement offers and make them into more enticing deals. By retaining an injury lawyer, you’re giving yourself a chance to obtain a just settlement.
Effective Case Strategy
Typically, insurance providers do all they can to avoid giving out large settlement amounts. If you want to stand a chance of receiving the compensation amount you’re rightfully eligible for, you’ll have to present your case in a way they’ll find it impossible to refute. Unless you’re a skilled lawyer yourself, this isn’t an easy feat. But if you retain an expert attorney, they will help you devise a winning strategy for your case. They will apply the knowledge they have of this industry to make and present the strongest possible case to the insurance adjuster, and if need be, a jury or judge.
Find a Train and Subway Accident Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Catastrophic subway or train accidents usually cause severe injuries that require hefty sums of money to treat. Apart from the substantial money amounts, these injuries may also result in other life-altering consequences, like being incapable ever to work again and enjoy your life as before. If liability isn’t well established, you can have your claim or lawsuit denied. For this reason, you must work with an expert personal injury attorney, who will help determine fault, file your case, and pursue just compensation. At Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we have successfully helped several clients involved in train or subway accidents with their claims. Given our knowledge in personal injury law, we guarantee you the best possible outcome for your claim and, if necessary, lawsuit. Call us at 702-996-1224 to discuss your case further.