Were You Injured in a Train Accident in West Palm Beach?
Despite the popular belief that transportation by train is largely a thing of the past, West Palm Beach and other communities throughout Florida are actually looking to passenger trains as an important part of the future that can assist the region in relieving congested freeways, and saving people from the frustration and expense involved in spending hours each week caught in traffic.
However, in providing the convenience of regular train service throughout the region, passenger train companies—known as common carriers, as they provide services to the public on a regular schedule and for a fee—may fail in the important task of protecting their guests from harm.
If if a train accident injured you, a West Palm Beach train accident lawyer courtesy of Shiner Law Group can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.
We understand that many individuals are afraid to speak to an attorney about their accident because they don’t think they can afford an attorney’s services. However, most train accident attorneys provide a free case evaluation to ensure that anyone who needs answers to the legal questions about their case can obtain assistance.
Here, you can talk about your case and learn more about the services our attorneys can provide you.
Table of Contents
1. Causes of Train Accidents in West Palm Beach
2. Common West Palm Beach Train Accident Injuries
3. The Importance of Treatment in a Train Injury Claim
4. Filing a Wrongful Death Claim after a West Palm Beach Train Accident
5. The Statute of Limitations for Train Accidents in West Palm Beach
7. Contact Us
Causes of Train Accidents in West Palm Beach
Train accidents can be caused due to a number of different factors, including the following:
- An inexperienced driver
- Driver fatigue
- Reckless driving or speeding
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Mechanical issues
- Defective equipment
- Collision with another vehicle
- Derailment due to driver’s negligence
- Derailment due to someone else’s negligence
- Failure of train mechanism
- Damage to the rail tracks
Majority of the train accidents can be caused because of human error, defective products or maintenance issues. If the driver of the train or the owner/management of the train company is proved to be the negligent party in the accident that has led to minor to severe injuries, damage to property, and loss of lives, then they would be held liable to compensate the victims. Product liability can also be brought against the manufacturers or railway companies involved.
Common West Palm Beach Train Accident Injuries
Numerous injuries and damages can occur due to a train accident. No matter what is the cause of the accident, minor to severe injuries may be sustained by the passengers of the train, passengers of other vehicles, pedestrians and/or property damage may also occur. Following are some of the common issues typically caused in a train accident:
- Internal injuries
- Significant abrasions or lacerations
- Severe disfigurement, scarring or burns
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis and nerve damage that can affect one body part or the entire body of the victim, which can result in quadriplegia or paraplegia
- Crushed or fractured bones
- Brain injuries, including West Palm Beach traumatic brain injuries, head wounds, and mild concussions
- Permanent impairments
Certain injuries might not take days or even weeks to show symptoms, which is why it is highly advised to get medical attention to ensure there aren’t any life-altering or other severe injuries that might cause issues in the future.
Moreover, the physical impact of a train accident can also result in psychological and emotional trauma. In extreme cases, the strong impact and severe injuries sustained by the victims can prove fatal.
The Importance of Treatment in a Train Injury Claim
Whatever type of accident you or your loved one has been involved in, it is important to get proper medical care immediately to avoid any potential health issues and to get treated for the injuries sustained, no matter how minor it may seem. Aside from the health point of view, many individuals don’t understand the impact of immediate treatment or lack of it can do to their case and the amount of monetary compensation they may receive.
Delaying the treatment might contribute negatively to the claim you would make. While, each and every accident doesn’t require emergency medical care nor do each and every victim, it is still important to seek medical attention as soon as you possibly can after the accident.
The symptoms of certain injuries may start appearing days and even week after the injury was sustained. Moreover, waiting for weeks to get medical attention might also worsen the injuries leading to life-altering issues, which could have been easily avoided. Furthermore, if you wait days and weeks after the accident to get treatment, the defendants might argue that the injuries weren’t severe and might even try to prove that they were caused after the accident. This can drastically alter the monetary value of the compensation you might recover.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim after a West Palm Beach Train Accident
In extreme cases, a train accident can result in fatalities, which can lead to West Palm Beach wrongful death claims. When a life is lost due to the negligence of others then it is considered a wrongful death. In this case, the dependants and family of the deceased are entitled to monetary compensation from the defendants. As per the law, the dependants of the deceased victim are entitled to be compensated for the following losses, depending on their situation:
- Loss of consortium (mentoring, companionship, affection, love, and more)
- Services provided (childrearing, housekeeping, income, and more)
- Loss of financial support
- Past, current and future loss of wages
- Funeral expenses
- Medical costs during the treatment of the deceased
Other factors may or may not affect the wrongful death claim. It is best to seek legal guidance from a qualified team of West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers to ensure maximum monetary compensation for the losses sustained by the family of the deceased.
The Statute of Limitations for Train Accidents in West Palm Beach
The statute of limitations indicates the timeframe in which a victim is allowed to file a lawsuit against the negligent party for the sustained damages and injuries. If the claim isn’t filed within the specified timeframe, you won’t be allowed to pursue any kind of legal action against the negligent party. However, some exceptions do apply depending on the cases.
For train accidents, Florida’s statute of limitations allows up to four years from the date of the accident to the victim to file a case against the negligent party. In case of a wrongful death claim, Florida’s statute of limitations allows up to two years for the family of the deceased to file a case against the negligent party.
Therefore, it is best to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer if you or your loved ones have been victims of a train accident or other negligent cases. Contact Shiner Law Group immediately and get a free evaluation of your negligent case. Our highly qualified and experienced legal team will thoroughly inspect your case and prepare a strong claim on your behalf. They will ensure you get the fair compensation you deserve for the damages and losses you sustained as a result of the train accident.
Frequently Asked Questions about West Palm Beach Train Accidents
A train derailment caused my injuries. How common are derailments?
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are more than 1,500 train accidents in the U.S. each year, and more than 1,000 of those are the result of a derailment, making it the most common type of train accident. Most derailments occur because of defective tracks or speeding trains. Colliding with objects on the tracks or other trains is also a frequent source of train derailments.
How do I obtain compensation for the injuries I suffered in a West Palm Beach train accident?
If someone else’s carelessness or recklessness injured you in a train accident, you can obtain compensation for your injuries.
What is a common carrier, and why does it matter in a train accident case?
A common carrier is an entity that transports people or goods according to defined routes or schedules. In addition to train operators like Tri Rail or Brightline, other common carriers include airlines, cruise ships, metropolitan bus services, or even interstate bus or train lines such as Amtrak or Greyhound.
Common carriers have an increased duty of care. What this means is that they are required to take extra precautions to keep passengers safe at all points until the passenger or cargo reaches the intended destination.
Who is most commonly the source of liability for train accidents?
Many potentially liable parties can cause a train accident, including:
- The train conductor, if the accident resulted from careless driving behaviors such as driving the train too fast or failing to turn on the signal warning when approaching an intersection.
- The carrier, who has vicarious liability for the actions of its employees and must ensure the safety of riders and cargo from station to station and at all points of the journey.
- Other rail employees tasked with maintaining the track if a track defect caused the train accident.
- The entity tasked with performing maintenance services on the train.
- Other pedestrians or drivers who cause a collision on the track.
- Individuals at the train station or on the train whose careless, reckless, or intentional actions could injure another passenger.
- Construction contractors hired to do work around the track if that work resulted in debris on the track or other issues that reduce the safety of railway personnel and train passengers.
The vast majority of train accidents, as with other types of transportation accidents, result from human error. The difficulty is pinpointing the human(s) that made the error(s).
What can I recover compensation for after a West Palm Beach train accident?
Florida allows the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages through the personal injury claims process. In the legal arena, the phrase “recovering damages” means obtaining compensation for harm.
Economic damages refer to compensation for the expenses of your injury, while non-economic damages refer to compensation for the impacts your injury has had on your quality of life.
Some of the common expenses and impacts to appear on damage claims include:
- Medical expenses, such as the cost of emergency treatment, ambulance transport, diagnostic testing, surgical services, hospitalization, prescription medication, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and the provision of assistive devices such as crutches, a wheelchair, or prosthetic limbs.
- Lost wages from being too injured to work or missing work to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in a permanent disability that bars you from earning what you did before the accident.
- Property damage resulting from the accident, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if a train struck it due to the conductor’s failure to deploy the signal warning.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your injury prevents you from partaking in activities and events that you enjoyed before the accident.
- Loss of consortium, which is a damage collected on behalf of the injured person’s spouse for the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that a serious injury commonly causes.
I was injured when I slipped and fell at the train station. Can I file a claim?
The carrier or the agency it employs must ensure that the train station does not present hazardous features that could cause injury to guests. If your slip and fall accident occurred because of a cluttered walkway, debris on the floor, damaged flooring, or other property hazards that the carrier or possessor of the station knew about or had reason about, it could give rise to a premises liability claim.
Will my PIP insurance provide coverage for injuries I sustained in a train accident?
Individuals who register their vehicles in Florida are required to purchase a personal injury protection (PIP) policy of at least $10,000. This is a form of no-fault insurance policy that provides coverage of medical expenses and a portion of lost wages resulting from missing work due to your injury in an accident, regardless of fault.
However, many people don’t realize that this insurance policy covers injuries that the named insured may receive in a pedestrian accident.
If a train accident caused your injury while you were walking, you can likely seek compensation through your PIP policy. However, if your injuries exceed the state’s serious injury threshold or your expenses exceed the limits of your policy, you may seek compensation through a personal injury claim.
What is Florida’s serious injury threshold?
Florida’s serious injury threshold is the statutory determination of injuries that are serious enough to allow the claimant to bypass the state’s no-fault system to file a claim for compensation against the at-fault party.
This threshold includes injuries that result in:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, except for scarring or disfigurement.
- Significant and permanent scarring and disfigurement.
I was injured as a train passenger in an accident involving a vehicle. Is the driver of the vehicle at fault?
It depends on the facts of your case. The driver of the vehicle can be at fault if they deliberately parked on the tracks, stalled on the tracks due to poor maintenance of the vehicle, or crossed the tracks when the warning signal was activated.
Other circumstances could result in liability belonging to the train conductor, such as if they failed to activate the warning signal or a distraction prevented them from stopping the train in time. An experienced train accident attorney from The Shiner Law Group can determine all sources of liability and all insurance resources to compensate you.
What is the average West Palm Beach train accident settlement worth?
Every train accident is unique in its facts. Was the accident a result of derailment? Who was at fault? How severe are the injuries? These are the many questions about your accident whose answers are specific only to your case.
Added to all of these unique facts are the insurance company’s willingness to offer a fair settlement and your willingness to accept a settlement offer.
Because of all of these factors, there really is no average settlement for a train accident. A number of the facts in your case can, however, affect the compensation you receive, such as:
- How much insurance the at-fault party has. As a common carrier, the train company has an increased duty of care to protect the safety of passengers during all phases of their journey, from their destination station to their time on the train, to their arrival and presence at the next station. Not everyone knows this, but the vast majority of personal injury claims—including those involving train accidents—are paid by insurance. This is because most individuals or even companies could not afford to pay accident expenses out-of-pocket.
- The severity of your injury. A more severe injury is likely to result in a higher level of medical treatment needed, a longer hospitalization, more time missed from work, a higher risk of permanent deficits that can result in loss of earning capacity, and more pain and suffering. These are all recoverable damages, and the more recoverable damages there are, the higher the value of the case.
- The number of people injured in the accident. Train accidents are tricky when it comes to determining the level of compensation you deserve. While an accident resulting in dozens of injuries will often capture the attention of the news media and make the liable parties more motivated to settle. However, it also means that more people must share the individual or entity’s insurance resources.
- Your patience during the negotiation process. It isn’t necessarily hard to obtain a settlement offer from an insurance company after suffering a serious injury, particularly when the facts of the case clearly demonstrate the liability of their insured. However, obtaining a settlement offer that fairly reflects the expenses and impacts of your injuries is often another story. Insurance companies are in the business to make money, and they have many tactics that they use to accomplish this, including making low settlements quickly after the accident when the injured are likely desperate and overwhelmed by the implications of their injury, especially their ability to work and meet other life responsibilities. The best settlement offers often arrive either just before the case goes to trial, or even after the trial has begun but before the court reaches a decision.
Why do I need an attorney to file my West Palm Beach train accident claim?
An experienced train accident attorney from The Shiner Law Group knows how to prove a train accident claim and recover compensation.
Provide an extensive look at the facts of your case to determine all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can provide your compensation.
- Investigate the evidence in a train accident, such as on-board video, the train’s black box, hiring information about the conductor, maintenance records for the train and the tracks, investigation reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or the police, and much more.
- File your case in the proper jurisdiction within the statutory deadline to do so.
- Negotiate and litigate. While most personal injury claims resolve before they ever see the courtroom, some cases do wind up in court. You need an attorney with ample experience in recovering damages through both methods.
Call Our West Palm Beach Train Accident Lawyers Right Now
Train accident cases are, by nature, complex affairs. You need someone who knows to look through the many potential sources of liability and—due to the number of regulations placed on common carriers that provide transportation to the public or haul freight—look through voluminous evidence to determine liability and fair compensation.
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