Trains that are a symbol of success and development, that have made people and things move from one place to another way easier than they were before, but still with all the benefits, the risk of derailments lies behind it all. These accidents are known as the most devastating accidents, as recovering from their damage is sometimes impossible, as they cause destruction to life and infrastructure. After the collision the first question that arises in the mind of everyone involved is, ‘who was responsible for this?’.
Determining liability in the train accidents is very difficult and involves many complex steps such as negligence, contractual obligations, and insurance policies. The legal maze is vast area covered with several transportation laws and regulations which must be dealt with care. Mostly, several parties are determined for the damages and destruction, so determining who’s legally responsible for it can be difficult.
The landscape of derailments:
Numerous things can lead to derailments. Unmaintained tracks, malfunctioning machinery, human error, and even natural disasters can cause a train to lose balance and release its destructive force. Only in the US alone, 113 train accidents are recorded per year, with most of them ending in derailments. Finding out the main reason for derailment is essential as it forms the foundation for claims.
Unmasking the culprits:
It’s complicated to figure out who’s responsible for the train derailments or who must pay for the damages. Liability usually falls on the party whose negligence or misconduct led to this accident. There could be many parties responsible for it, in some cases shared liability is also observed.
- Railroad Company: As the carriers of passengers and cargo, railway companies are primarily responsible for such accidents. Failure to maintain tracks, faulty equipment and adhering to safety protocols can make them liable for such accidents.
- Track Owners: If the railway tracks are not owned by the railroad company, then the liability can be shifted to the track owners for not maintaining safety.
- Government Agencies: Regulatory organizations in charge of maintaining the safety of the tracks and train equipment can be held responsible if safety is not maintained.
Effect of Damages:
The incalculable cost of train derailments is the one faced by humans. Physical and mental injuries are often life altering and require a lifetime of medication and rehabilitation. The financial damage is similarly shocking. Families take years to recover from train derailments. The initial shock is followed by property damage, missed wages, business interruption leaving victims unable to rebuild their lives.
Dealing with the Aftermath of Train Derailments:
After such a shocking incident dealing with the legal aftermath of it can be complex. Here are some vital steps that you need to take:
- Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize your health or well-being. Consult a doctor, regardless of the size of your injuries. Keep a record of all the medical evidence of your injuries.
- Gather Evidence: Gather evidence to support your claim such as photographs or videos of the incident, witness testimonies if possible and especially police reports as it serves as the most vital evidence.
- Speak with an Attorney: Contact a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the legal maze. They can also help you know your legal position by going through the documents and evidence of the case.
- Insurance Claim: Talk to your insurance provider and file a claim for covered damages.
Although there is some comfort in the legal system, it is crucial to take strong safety precautions to avoid derailments. Stricter laws like positive train control systems help reduce the likelihood of these catastrophic mishaps. In the end, government organizations, and railroad firms must work together to ensure the security of our steel arteries.
If you’ve been a part of such a mishap and want to seek justice, then call now for free consultation (718) 414-6642