Representation After a Train Accident
Rail accidents may not be as common as other transportation accidents, but it still happens enough to be considered a major threat. Many rules and regulations have been added over the years to reduce the number of incidents, but there are still over 10,000 rail accidents each year in the United States. While there are only around 600 railroads, there are over 200,000 railroad crossings, which is where the majority of accidents take place. Accidents take place for a number of reasons.
In some cases, it is the fault of the driver, but it is not uncommon for improper train handling, improper maintenance on either the train or tracks or human error from the train operator to cause an accident. In these situations, a train accident attorney can represent your case and make sure you receive the proper compensation for any damage caused by the train.
How a Train Accident Attorney can Help
If you were the victim of a train accident, you may feel like you are ineligible for representation. A common tactic by rail companies is to insist the accident was your fault, then offer a small settlement with the hope you are too intimidated to take the case to trial. The reason railroad companies are able to get away with this tactic is due in part to the complexity regarding railroad laws. There are many state and federal laws, and multiple federal agencies responsible for railroads and train accidents. Going through these laws is an involved process. Even initiating a complaint can be tricky if you do not know the proper agencies to work with. It becomes even harder to file a case if you are dealing with injuries and medical expenses from the train accident.
Working with a train accident attorney eliminates many of these problems. Your attorney knows exactly who to go through and what kind of paperwork must be filled out to file your complaint and move forward with your case. Your attorney can also work you through the investigation process, helping you gather evidence for the case, such as witness testimony to prove you were not at fault. The majority of train accident attorney’s will provide a free consultation, giving you the chance to lay out your case to decide whether or not you can sue the rail company.
Common Types of Cases Handled by Train Accident Attorneys
Train accident attorneys can represent you in a number of rail related cases. Train derailments are the most obvious examples of rail accidents, but these are not particularly common. Normally, train accident attorneys focus on cases involving excessive speeding or the train operator failing to properly break. Train accident attorneys also specialize in cases involving faulty equipment. This can include railroad crossings that are not properly maintained, as well as incidents where debris or other equipment was left on the track. Some cases also involve faulty signaling equipment, which may have caused your accident.
While train accident attorneys commonly go after rail companies, there may be situations where the attorney goes after a manufacturer instead, especially if the case involves faulty equipment. By working with a train accident attorney, you know exactly which party is responsible for your accident. This is important, since you do not waste any time or resources only to be told you need to start the entire process all over again with a different group.
How to Find a Train Accident Attorney
Because it is not as common as other traffic accidents, it can sometimes be difficult to find a train accident attorney. Instead of searching for a train accident lawyer, you can extend your search to general traffic attorneys. Even if these attorneys do not take on train accident cases, you can ask the law firm for a possible recommendation. If you know anyone who was previously involved in a train accident, consider asking him or her what law firm he or she used. If you are not having any luck finding an attorney, you can use the internet for search for qualified lawyers in your area. The American Bar Association has a helpful search tool you can use to look up certified lawyers in your state.
Choosing the Correct Train Accident Attorney
Finding a train accident attorney may take some time, but do not make the mistake of picking the first attorney willing to take your case. As with any other legal situation, you must take the time to speak with your lawyer to determine whether he or she is a good fit for your case. One of the first questions clients often ask involves pricing. Find out if your lawyer wants to charge a flat fee, or if he or she receives a percentage of your settlement.
Another important question to ask is how experienced the attorney is with train accidents. Train accident cases are much different than other traffic cases, so you do not want an inexperienced attorney. Consider asking whether the lawyer works alone or with a team. If the lawyer works with a team, ask how much he or she plans to personally work on your case.