If you ever got involved in a train accident, the first thing to do would be to hire a reputed lawyer to help you build the case and recover as much damages as possible. This way, you can also bring to justice the negligent train company or careless train engineer(s) that were at fault. Below is a quick look at how to proceed if you were involved in a train accident.
What to Do
At the instance of a train accident, if you can move, check on the fellow passengers and the train engineers, and call 911 to inform about the accident. See if anyone (or you) require any immediate medical assistance and inform that to the authorities as well. Make sure not to try moving a person that is unconscious or is feeling immense neck or back pain.
Take pictures of the accident scene, if possible, to help document the same. If you are not able to take pictures, ask any of your fellow passengers to do that, as it would be very helpful to establish your case during later legal proceedings. Alongside that, record the testimonies of a few witnesses as well. You can either write down their version of what happened or make a video recording of that on your smartphone.
It is important not to leave the accident scene, even if you can, until the federal authorities have got your statement. If you are required to stay at the accident scene for a long time, call your family members and let them know that you are okay. This is very important because train accidents are usually covered by news reports very quickly; hearing about the accident might scare your loved ones.
If you were injured, let the doctors attend to your injuries and follow the recommended treatment plan. Moreover, ask your doctor to document the injuries you sustained in the accident and keep a copy of the same at hand. You should also note the expenses you had to pay for because of the accident, such as medical visits, doctor’s fees, treatment and medications costs, etc. Although pain and suffering can be harder to quantify for a claim, you should ask your doctor to document your physical and mental state as well after the accident.
You should also note down all the time lost at work because of the train accident, as well as what activities you can no longer do at work or at home because of the impact of the accident. You can also include a few notes on how the crash has affected your family life in general.
Consulting with a reliable lawyer to file the lawsuit is as important as documenting all the details of the accident. You should ensure that the lawyer you are hiring has enough experience in dealing with train accident claims or similar cases, so that you can get the maximum compensation from the responsible railway company and/or its insurance company for your damages and losses.
When hiring a lawyer, ask them about their procedures and get to know how capable they are in dealing with insurance providers that try to compensate as low as possible. Your lawyer should also be able to negotiate with the railway company and/or its insurance company to get you the most appropriate claim amount to cover your medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
If the negotiations do not go as planned, or if the offered amount is too low to be accepted as a fair settlement, you might need to take the case to the court. Your lawyer would then need to asses all your documented details, and present the applicable ones before the jury to get the right compensation for your damages as claimed in the lawsuit.
Negligence in Train Accidents
Sometimes, the train engineer(s) can be at fault for the accident. This can be when the train driver acted in a careless manner or when the engineer ignored to perform any essential repairs/works that would have prevented the accident. California law considers a lot of distractions as negligence, such as using a cell phone while driving or failing to notice the obvious signs of damage that could lead to an accident. By law, all drivers in California are required to be careful at all times, and it may be considered negligence when they do not act with awareness.
To prove the negligence of the train engineer(s), the person filing the lawsuit should be able to prove that the defendant’s actions led to the crash and he/she suffered the damages and/or injuries because of that negligent act. A reputed lawyer who understands the complexities of that can help here win the case with ease and get maximum compensation from the guilty party for the damages and losses.