There’s no good way to get in an accident with a train. They represent a kind of metal behemoth that the mind doesn’t quite process and the damage caused by any sort of collision can be life-altering. If you’ve been hurt by a train, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about how you can financially be made whole again. Unfortunately, this process won’t be as easy as showing that you were injured by the train. As with so many other factors in law, the location of the accident will also play a huge role. Consider the differences in what might happen if your accident is aboard the train, at a station, or at a railroad crossing.
On the Train
Injuries are actually fairly common aboard a train. As the vehicle starts and stops, it’s easy for a passenger to get tossed around. If your injury occurs on the train, there are only a few likely culprits – the train itself, the passengers on the train, or you as the passenger. Figuring out where liability lies will be a matter of determining exactly what caused the injury, who was the proximate cause of that injury, and ultimately whether the other party was acting in a reasonable manner. When the injury occurs on the train itself, the court will often have to decide if the train company was exercising due care in the operation and upkeep of the vehicle.
At a Station
When you move the accident to an actual train station, things become a little more tricky. You’re now possibly adding another culprit to the mix – the company that owns or operates the train station. It’s incredibly likely that the station owners will try to show that the train company is responsible for your accident and vice versa. While the station will likely have some kind of insurance, it will often be in the best interest of that station to try to avoid responsibility by showing that you violated either posted rules or common sense. The train company will also try to do the same thing, leaving you in a position where a lengthy and complex suit will ensue.
On the Road
If your train accident occurs on the road, you’ll be dealing with something much more difficult than a train company – you will likely have to deal with a municipality. If the accident occurs due to a faulty traffic signal or another failure of upkeep, you will end up dealing with the government. Not only does this make bringing a suit much harder, but you’ll also be looking at a much more difficult process of getting your compensation. Accidents on the road also tend to free the municipality and the train company from some of their duties of care, as they have less of a duty to random pedestrians and drivers than they may have to those who purposefully do business with them. In these cases, it will be much harder to prove that you deserve any kind of compensation at all.
If you are involved in an accident with a train, the location will play a huge role in what happens next. It will determine against who you will bring your suit, what level of care you were owed, and ultimately who might be able to compensate you. Make sure that you are very clear with your attorney about where and when the accident happened, as well as any other pertinent details that you can remember. While these accidents can be difficult to deal with legally, it’s not impossible. The more information you can contribute, the better the help you will be able to get from your lawyer.