As reported by the United States Department of Transportation, there are about 5,800 collisions involving trains each year in the U.S., most of which involve railroad crossings. Due to the size, weight, and speed of trains, nearly 600 deaths and about 2,300 about injuries arise from these accidents.

If you or a loved one was injured in a collision involving a train, you have legal options and should consider contacting a skillful attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. When another person, business, or entity’s negligence caused your injuries, you might be able to hold them legally liable. A Michigan train accident lawyer could review your case, explain your rights, and guide you through the ensuing legal process.

Types of Train Crashes

There are numerous types of train accidents that can arise. For example, derailments, collisions with other trains or motor vehicles, and railroad crossing accidents are all fairly common throughout the state.

Many factors might contribute to a crash, such as too much cargo on a car, faulty equipment or tracks, employee distraction, or obstacles on the tracks. Depending on the circumstances, there might be a single or multiple parties responsible for a crash and, by extension, the crash-related injuries. By enlisting the help of a seasoned Michigan train accident lawyer, an injured individual could have help with investigating who is to blame.

Michigan Amtrak Accidents

Amtrak is a nationally and internationally recognized passenger railroad service. During the course of a single day, the company operates more than 300 trains and over 21,300 miles of track. Some track sections allow trains to run as fast as 150 mph. Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces. This means that nearly 85,700 passengers ride more than 300 Amtrak trains on a daily basis, and nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the 10 largest metropolitan areas.

As recent as December 2017, a passenger train on a newly-opened Amtrak route jumped the tracks on an overpass south of Tacoma, slamming rail cars into a busy highway and killing at least three people and injuring about 100 others. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the train had been traveling more than twice the speed limit before it derailed, or at 80 miles per hour instead of the allowable 30 mph. The tracks where the accident occurred were brand new and the result of a recent infrastructure investment program. Federal law requires railroads, by the end of 2018, to have positive train control, which automatically slows trains if they are exceeding speed limits or approaching dangerous conditions.

Filing a Lawsuit

Depending on the circumstances of a crash, the railroad company might be held liable for any passenger who sustains injuries from a train crash. For example, if the improper maintenance of a train, or the negligent actions of a train operator cause a crash, there is a good chance that an injured individual could pursue compensation against the responsible company.

In addition to ordinary negligence, certain train companies, such as Amtrak, may have additional liability. This is because they are considered common carriers, and therefore might have to adhere to a special law that imposes extra liability on transportation vehicles that require passengers to pay a fee. A Michigan lawyer who is familiar with train accident claims could help to explain the nuances of these laws to a potential claimant.

Calculating Loss After an Accident

Anyone who pursues a claim for compensation—whether they be a passenger, bystander, driver, or railroad worker—must be able to calculate their losses. Essentially, these losses are broken down into types of damages, which can be both economic and non-economic in nature.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages encompass the pain and suffering a plaintiff has endured that does not have an inherent economic value. This might include mental anguish, an inability to perform a certain function, emotional trauma, loss of society, or loss of enjoyment of life.  For accidents involving fatalities, the family members of the victims can pursue claims under the Michigan Wrongful Death Act.

Economic Losses

The specific economic damages that a claimant can request will depend on the circumstances of each case.  However, many injured plaintiffs request compensation for:

  • Past and future lost wages
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Therapy bills

In addition, when a train crashes into a motor vehicle, the injured occupants of the automobile are entitled to receive no-fault insurance benefits.  This can provide victims with additional benefits and compensation.

Retain a Michigan Train Accidents Attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash involving a train, you might benefit from enlisting the help of a compassionate Michigan train accident lawyer. By hiring a well-versed attorney, you could have legal assistance with gathering evidence, calculating your losses, and pursuing a thorough claim for compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call a legal professional today.

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