Railroad crossings are often extremely hazardous and in many situations, accidents occur. However, a person will only be able to file a lawsuit (and successfully obtain compensation) if negligence can be proven. The bottom line is, the actual railroad company/owner is only liable for accidents that occur when the incident stems from their negligence.
This means if you have abandoned your vehicle on the tracks, you will not be able to sue for damages successfully. However, if you hire a quality lawyer and have all the elements that go into a successful negligence claim, you may have a successful suit.
Negligence: The Elements of Proof
There are four different elements of negligence:
- Harm (also referred to as damages)
In order to be successful, plaintiffs (with the help of their lawyer) need to show that the defendant (the railroad company or some other entity, in this case) owed a certain duty of care that was breached and that the breach resulted in the injury. This is when compensation may be awarded.
What will have to be used to prove negligence took place at a train crossing will depend on the details of the incident and who you are actually suing. In some cases, multiple defendants may be to blame. This would be the case, for example, if you were hit by a train at the crossing and the same person who owned the tracks did not own the train.
Several Defendants in a Railroad Crossing Lawsuit
Railroad crossing accidents may involve a number of different parties. Besides the actual owners of the train and the tracks that were involved, the attorney you hire may think about suing the manufacturer of the train, or the company responsible for putting the traffic light at the crossing where the incident took place, or the manufacturer of the light.
Also, your lawyer is going to look for more than a single way that the defendants were negligent, which led to the accident and injuries that occurred. Arguments may be made that training was below standards, that the equipment was not properly maintained or that the communications system did not work properly.
Everything will depend on the details of the case and situation. There are different rules that apply to the passengers who were in the train than to a car that was at the railroad crossing. Once you tell your attorney your story, it may take them some time and evaluation to determine who is to blame for the accident.
Filing the Train Related Claim
Due to the complexity of the negligence case and the statutes of limitations present, it is critical that a person act fast. When the accident occurs, talking to an attorney quickly is the best course of action. They will be able to evaluate the situation and determine the right course of action.