With more than 600 railroad companies and 200,000 miles of track throughout the United States, railroad accidents are going to happen. In fact, more than 3,000 accidents occur on our railways each year, resulting in about 1,000 fatalities. The most common types of railroad accidents include:
- Collisions at Crossings
- Mechanical Failure
- Employee Negligence or Sabotage
- Employee Injuries
We are proud of the fact that we have been handling train accident cases for almost 40 years, and received an $18 million jury verdict in 1980 in a train derailment case, which at the time was the largest compensatory jury verdict in U.S. history in any type of personal injury case.
Since that time we have continued to successfully handle numerous railroad disasters and collisions, including having served as one of the few court appointed counsel to head up the federal litigation against AmTrak arising out of the “Sunset Limited” train crash in Bayou Canot, Alabama which resulted in 47 deaths and 103 injured.
The most common train accidents involve collisions with passenger vehicles, buses, pedestrians and other trains. Due to the typical size and speed of trains, railroad collisions can cause death or serious physical injury, along with psychological and emotional trauma.
For train passengers, the most common injuries from a collision are whiplash, head injuries and broken bones. For those in a vehicle struck by a train, common injuries include crushed or amputated body parts or death. Pedestrians struck by trains are the most vulnerable and most often do not survive.
Many of these collisions occur at railway crossings. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 60% of all railroad crossing fatalities occur at crossings without lights or safety gates.
Railroad companies have a responsibility to make crossings safe. When a railroad crossing is obstructed, the gates are faulty or inadequate, or warning systems are insufficient or ineffective, the railroad company may be liable. The same is true if a train operator has limited view of a crossing or an approaching train.
Train derailments can cause serious injuries and even fatalities to hundreds of people. Several factors can cause train derailments, including faulty tracks or equipment, railroad employee negligence, heavy cargo loads or obstacles on the track.
Most derailment accidents are subject to railroad safety investigations, which frequently find that railroad company negligence, rule violations or other reckless conduct were factors; including mechanical failures, equipment issues, and employee negligence.
Mechanical Failures often involve poor reconditioning or maintenance of:
- Rewiring components
- Switching services
Equipment Issues may involve:
- Improper use of hazardous chemicals or waste materials
- Defective railroad crossings or crossing signals
- Inadequate signal interchanges or train controls
- Faulty train track or rail inspection
- Improper switching
- Excessive cargo loads
Employee Negligence may involve:
- Drunkenness or illegal drug use while on the job
- Poor locomotive operating practices and policies
- Operator fatigue
- Excessive speed by the train operator
- Failure to use train horns
How Do I Choose a Train Accident Lawyer
First, determine whether the attorneys you are considering focus their practice on handling train accident cases, and whether they have a record of successfully litigating these type cases. Many attorneys claim to have this expertise, but in fact try to settle claims quickly and do not want to go to trial. The railroad companies and insurance companies generally know who these lawyers are and will often offer less than the fair settlement value.
Our firm is always prepared and willing to go to trial if the case cannot settle for a fair amount under the law. We do it multiple times every year, and have been for 60 years. In fact, we have won more than 100 jury verdicts for more than $1 million each, totaling more than $2 billion. We have been named "One of America's Most Winning Law Firms" by the National Law Journal, and are listed in Best Lawyers in America; Super Lawyers, and Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.
In 1980 our law firm received an $18 million jury verdict in a train derailment case, which at the time was the largest compensatory jury verdict in U.S. history. Since then we have continued to successfully handle numerous railroad accident cases, including having served as one of the few court appointed counsel to head up the federal litigation against AmTrak arising out of the “Sunset Limited” train crash which resulted in 47 deaths and 103 injured.
For a detailed discussion of our history, credentials, accomplishments, and results, please visit our About Us section.
How Do I Pay for a Train Accident Lawyer
Our train accident lawyers provide an absolutely free confidential consultation, and if we are fortunate enough for you to hire us, we never will charge you any fees or costs unless you first recover. This type of fee is known as a contingency fee.
The fee we charge ranges from 20% to 40% depending upon the amount we recover for you. This fee should be virtually identical to what other lawyers are charging, especially in Florida, as the amount is controlled by The Florida Bar. This is true whether your lawyer has never handled a personal injury case or whether it has been the focus of their practice for more than 60 years, as with our law firm. For a detailed discussion on fees and costs, click Fees & Costs.
When hiring a law firm to handle your personal injury case, it's important to take your time and research them. Study their web sites for credentials, expertise, commitment, resources, success rate and fees. Meet with several firms. Ask a lot of questions, and determine who you feel most comfortable trusting.
Will Levin Papantonio Accept My Train Accident Claim
We review and accept train accident cases of every type and size. No case is too big or too small. The issue is whether your case is recognized as valid under the law, and whether your likely recovery justifies the amount of time, effort and scrutiny you will be subjected to during the process of pursuing your case.
The one thing we can assure you is that we will take your call, provide you an absolutely free consult, discuss with you the facts and issues of your case, and honestly and straightforward tell you whether we can help you. If not, we will try to get you to someone who can. We also will tell you exactly what will be involved in pursuing your case, how long it will take to resolve, and the likely amount you will receive.
How Long Will it Take to Resolve my Train Accident Claim
Train Accident claims can vary in length from a few months to years before they are settled or get paid as a result of a jury trial. Each situation is different. We will need to review the facts of your individual case, and then begin investigation of all the circumstances before we can provide you a good estimate. Generally, however, you need to be prepared for the process to take one year in straightforward cases to 3-4 years in complex cases. Wrongful death cases generally take longer than personal injuries cases. A good estimate is 2 - 5 years depending upon the complexity.
To contact us for a free confidential consult, you can call us at (850) 435-7000 (Pensacola) or (800) 277-1193 (toll free). You also can request a free private and confidential evaluation by clicking Free & Confidential Consult, and your inquiry will be immediately reviewed by one of our attorneys who handles your specific type case.