Train and Railroad Accident Lawyer In West Palm Beach, Florida
If you were injured due to a train or railroad accident in West Palm Beach or anywhere in Florida, whether it be on AMTRAC, BRIGHTLINE or one of other railroad companies, consult with a best railroad accident attorney as soon as possible. It is important that you know your legal options and rights, including how you could file a successful lawsuit or insurance claim. The Law Offices of Roger P. Foley P.A. helps victims and their family members get the compensation they deserve following devastating accidents. We are here for you. “Call Me” Roger P. FoleyTrain and Railroad Accidents In Florida
Passenger trains are a key method of transportation in West Palm Beach and other Florida communities. Light rails, including Brightline, have made it easier to get around at an affordable rate. Many people find that trains fulfill their transportation needs when traveling to or from West Palm Beach from either Tampa or Miami thereby eliminating the need to sit in traffic.
Unfortunately, railroad accidents remain a serious problem. And given their size and speed, train collisions are often deadly. Few people can walk away unhurt after a collision with a train going 80 miles or more per hour.
At The Law Offices of Roger P. Foley P.A., we represent people hurt in railroad accidents. The facts of each case are unique, but our clients have one thing in common: they need legal help. Fortunately, we can immediately get to work protecting our clients’ rights to compensation when a train company or some other entity is responsible for an injurious crash.
Below, we answer some of the most common questions people have about Florida railroad accidents.
- What Causes Railroad Accidents?
- How Common are Train Accidents in Florida?
- What Railroads Operate in South Florida?
- Who Is Responsible For My Railroad Accident?
- How Does A Lawyer Identify Who Is Responsible?
- What Are The Most Common Train Accident Injuries?
- Can I File A Lawsuit If I Was Struck By A Train?
- Can I File A Lawsuit If I Was a Train Passenger?
- What Happens If A Family Member Died In A Train Accident?
- How Much Time Do I Have To Sue if Injured in a Railway Accident?
- Who Will Pay My Medical Bills After A Florida Railroad Accident?
- Can I Recover Lost Income After Being Involved In A Railroad Accident?
- What Other Compensation Can I Receive If Injured In Train Accident?
- What Can Limit The Compensation I Receive?
- Is Brightline Safe And What Are the Statistics?
What Causes Train Accidents?
Every railroad accident unfolds under different circumstances. However, we have found that some of the more common causes of such accidents tend to involve one or more of the following influences:
- Mechanical failures
- Other vehicles on the tracks (e.g., a car accident at a railroad crossing)
- Collision with other trains
- Conductor (train operator) error
- Train derailment
- Defective signals
- Hazardous railroad crossings
- Defective tracks
- Explosions or fires
- Slip and fall incidents
- Other misconduct by the railroad company
How Common are Train Accidents in Florida?
According to Operation Lifesaver, Inc., in 2021 Florida trains had 95 collisions resulting in 24 fatalities and 45 injured. There have already several deaths in 2022.
What Railroads Operate in South Florida?
- National Railroad Passenger Corp. ( AMTRAK)
- South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-Rail)
- Port Of Palm beach District Railroad
- CSX Transportation
- Florida East Coast Railway ( Brightline)
- Complete list of Railroad
Who Is Responsible For My Train or Railroad Accident?
To bring a lawsuit, train accident victims will need to identify the person, business, and/or legal entity at fault. Many different people work together to ensure that a train reaches the station safely. Any mistake along the way can lead to injured passengers and members of the public. Depending on the circumstances of your case, more than one defendant may be named in your lawsuit. The following are some of the parties who might be responsible for a railroad accident:
- Train conductors. If the conductor makes a careless mistake or a reckless decision, they may be responsible for a crash. Operators must perform their jobs with sufficient care. Sadly, some are tired, intoxicated, or lack relevant experience while on the job.
- Train companies. Businesses are usually liable for mistakes that their employees make, and that’s generally true of train companies. The train company could also fail to maintain trains properly or perform insufficient background checks when hiring conductors or railroad workers.
- Manufacturers. The train manufacturer could be responsible if a defect in the design or manufacture causes an accident.
- Track owners. The company which owns the tracks should perform regular inspections and fix any damage. Failure to inspect and promptly repair defects can render the track owner responsible for a train collision.
- Motorists. If a motorist pulls in front of the train and causes a collision, they can probably be held liable for the accident.
Our Florida train accident lawyer will analyze the facts to determine who is at fault for your crash. Our firm will then do our utmost to hold them accountable for the accident that injured you.
How Does A Lawyer Identify Who Is Responsible?
It isn’t always obvious who is to blame for a train accident, so an investigation is warranted. The Florida Department of Transportation usually takes the investigative lead with Florida train accidents and issues a written report. Oftentimes, the agency will identify if mechanical failure or operator error contributed to the cause(s) of a crash. Once a report related to your accident is released, we can analyze it and follow up with questions to better understand the sequence of events that led to your wreck.
Trains also have “black boxes” that record important information, just like commercial airplanes and your car do. This black box data can help investigators uncover a train’s direction and speed, as well as whether the conductor applied the brakes before impact. This data is very helpful in clarifying the fault for a crash.
Train crossing signals and gates should also be monitored. This information can help us uncover whether a glitch in the system contributed to the crash. Other important pieces of evidence may include eyewitness testimony, including your own memories of the event. Victims are often in the best position to tell investigators what really happened.
What Are The Most Common Train Accident Injuries?
Some of the most common include:
- Fractures. You can break any bone due to the trauma caused by an accident.
- Whiplash. Interestingly, whiplash used to be called “railway spine” because it was a common injury on trains.
- Back injuries. You can sprain a muscle or ligament in your back, fracture a rib, or tear a disc between your vertebrae due to the force of an accident.
- Spinal column injury. Any injury to your spinal cord or nerves can lead to chronic pain and impaired mobility.
- Traumatic brain injury. Violent shaking or blows to the head caused by train wrecks often cause traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms include impaired memory and problems talking, moving, or speaking.
- Amputation. A devastating accident can lead to the loss of a limb, because it is damaged beyond repair.
If you’re injured in a train accident, head to the hospital immediately. You might be experiencing the first symptoms of a serious injury. Even if you don’t feel pain, get checked out. You may not yet be able to perceive that you have sustained an internal injury.
Can I File A Lawsuit If I Was Struck By A Train?
Possibly. The question is why you were hit. For example, defective crossing gates or lights could have caused you to enter the tracks where you were hit. Poorly designed or placed crossing gates might also be to blame.
However, if you tried to “beat” a train by driving around the gates, then you probably caused the crash. You will not be able to receive compensation if you are 100% to blame for the wreck.
Can I File A Lawsuit If I Was a Train Passenger?
Yes. If you were hurt in a train accident, chances are high you have a valid legal claim against an at-fault party. Our firm will identify who or what caused your railroad accident and whether any party may be held liable for their at-fault conduct. You might sue the conductor or the train company if they made a mistake or engaged in negligent behavior. Railroads are common carriers, and they owe a high duty of care to their passengers. This legal standard makes it easier to hold railroad companies liable in the event of an accident in which they were responsible for part or all of the crash in question. Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, you may be able to hold multiple parties accountable for the harm that you have suffered.
What Happens If A Family Member Died In A Train Accident?
Florida law allows surviving family members of a loved one lost in a fatal accident to seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative of your loved one’s estate will likely file the lawsuit.
A wrongful death lawsuit can compensate family members for certain losses:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical care to treat your loved one after their accident
- Lost financial support
- Lost future earnings
- Loss of services provided by the deceased
- Loss of mentoring, companionship, affection, and similar losses
How Much Time Do I Have To Sue if Injured in a Railway Accident?
Florida’s statute of limitations related to negligent harm details the maximum amount of time that victims are granted before they are barred from filing a lawsuit. Under the current statute, victims have four (4) years from the date of an injurious accident to file a lawsuit. In a wrongful death case, the deadline is two (2) years from your loved one’s death.
If you don’t file in time, a judge will dismiss your case. Consequently, you won’t be able to refile or obtain compensation. It is vitally important to schedule an appointment with one of our Florida train accident lawyers today to discuss your options. Even though the law gives you four years to file your case, our team will need to act quickly to preserve evidence and inform you of your rights. This quick action will allow you to make informed decisions about your options while maintaining the opportunity to build a strong case moving forward, should you choose to exercise your rights under the law.
Who Will Pay My Medical Bills After A Florida Railroad Accident?
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, those that are responsible for causing your harm should pay for your medical care. Accident victims are generally entitled to receive economic and non-economic damages from those responsible for their injuries. Medical care costs that should be reimbursed as part of a personal injury lawsuit award include:
- Surgical costs
- Physical therapy
- Doctor appointments
- Ambulance transportation costs
- Prescription drugs
- Wheelchair or other assistive devices
Because train accidents typically cause serious injuries, many victims will need very expensive care as they recover. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to connect with an experienced attorney at our firm in the wake of an accident. Our train accident attorney can help you to pursue the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled under the circumstances.
Can I Recover Lost Income After Being Involved In A Railroad Accident?
Yes—if your accident kept you from returning to work for a period of time, you can recover your lost wages. Someone with a moderate traumatic brain injury, for example, might be unable to leave the house for months. Losing income is very stressful, especially because so many bills tend to arrive in the wake of an accident. If you suffered a permanent injury, you might also receive a damages award for loss of earning capacity.
What Other Compensation Can I Receive If Injured In Train Accident? Property Damage
If your car was damaged in the accident, you should be reimbursed for its repair or replacement, provided that you weren’t at fault for the accident in question. Other property damage includes any pets injured in the crash since Florida considers animals to be your property.
Pain And Suffering
Injuries generally result in considerable physical pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. For example, if you’ve suffered a serious head injury, you might be laid up in bed with headaches and dizziness for months. This suffering may be compensated in a personal injury settlement award.
Emotional distress involves all of the trauma you’ve experienced and negative emotions you’ve been compelled to navigate in the wake of your train wreck. This compensation category also concerns medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder that have arisen as a result of your trauma. No amount of money can really make up for this distress, but money is what you can get in train accident lawsuits, and we believe in securing all compensation to which our clients are entitled.
What Can Limit The Compensation I Receive?
Certain factors can cause you to receive less compensation than you would otherwise.Comparative Fault
Florida recognizes comparative fault in accident cases. If you were negligent or careless and contributed to the causes of the accident in some way, you could be partially liable for your harm. For example, you might not have been watching where you were walking. As a result, you get clipped by a passing train. Any negligence on your part will reduce your compensation proportionally. For example, someone who is assigned 25% fault for their harm will only be able to seek 75% of their case compensation value from others at-fault for the harm in question.
The Defendant’s Insurance
Most defendants pay legal settlements with insurance. A train company should have sufficient insurance to pay out fair compensation for even serious injuries. But what if a motorist pulled in front of your train, causing a crash? The driver might only have the bare minimum insurance required by Florida. You could be dividing the insurance proceeds between all victims and receive very little compensation overall if this is the case.
Weak Evidence Of Fault
If you have a strong case, you can negotiate aggressively. If you know that the defendant won’t settle, you can go to court and can likely win a jury verdict. But what happens if your evidence is weak? In that case, you might need to settle for less compensation.
Is Brightline Safe And What Are the Statistics?
Brightline connects West Palm Beach to Miami and has grown in popularity over the past few years. The line will soon connect to Orlando Airport in late 2022 or 2023. Getting around West Palm Beach will be much easier.
However, Brightline has a terrible safety record. Since the line became operational in 2017, there have been around 60 fatal accidents involving Brightline. In fact, one study found that Brightline is the most dangerous railroad in the nation.
Here is a small sampling of some Brightline accidents:
- On back-to-back days in early May 2022, two men died in separate Brightline collisions. One of the men had driven around the safety gates in the moments before the crash.
- In April 2022, a Brightline train collided with an SUV. The driver was taken to the hospital.
- A 71-year-old grandmother suffered fractures when a Brightline train crashed into her car in Pompano Beach. This collision happened the first day back in service after Brightline temporarily shut down due to the pandemic.
- The very first Brightline fatality occurred during a test run in July 2017. An 18-year-old woman was struck near Florida Atlantic University.
Of course, many Brightline accidents are partially or totally caused by people driving around lowered gates or rushing into the tracks to commit suicide. Brightline isn’t usually legally liable in these situations. Nevertheless, passengers on a train could be injured in these types of crashes and may be able to hold those responsible for their harm legally accountable. In other instances, Brightline may be held directly liable.
Amtrac Railroad Accident Lawyer
Railroad accidents are shocking events, and you are likely still reeling from the trauma that you incurred when your wreck occurred. Now is the time to focus on your physical and emotional well-being. Allow our firm to take care of the legal heavy-lifting associated with your situation.
Train companies, like Amtrac, often try to get victims to quickly agree to a settlement, but they rarely offer a fair amount. Instead of settling for less than you deserve, contact our firm’s Florida train accident attorney as soon as possible following a wreck. Our law firm can help you build a credible claim to recover the compensation to which you are entitled. To learn more, call The Law Offices of Roger P. Foley P.A. today and speak directly with your point of contact, Roger P. Foley.Florida Train Accident Attorney
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a train accident, you don’t have to navigate the legal and financial consequences of that tragedy alone. Our firm can bring an effective train accident insurance claim or lawsuit. We are here to provide you with all the legal support that you and your family require in a wrongful death case. No amount of money can make things right but the only justice available is through financial means.
If you need us, we are here! “Call Me” Attorney Roger P Foley. We are located in West Palm Beach, Florida.