More than 3,000 railroad accidents occur on our railways each year, resulting in more than 1,000 fatalities. The most common types of railroad injuries include:
- Collisions at Crossings
- Employee Negligence or Sabotage
- Mechanical Failure
We are proud of the fact that we have been handling railroad accident cases throughout the United States since 1955, and received an $18 million jury verdict in 1980 in a train derailment case. At the time, it was the largest 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 all over America, including having served as one of the few judge appointed law firms 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.
Railroad Crossing Collisions
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 death 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 signals
- Inadequate signal interchanges or train controls
- Faulty track 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 more than 65 years.
In fact, we have won more than 150 jury verdicts for more than $1 million each, totaling more than $30 billion. We are listed in Best Lawyers in America; National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and National 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 personal injury 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 judge appointed law firms to head up the federal litigation against AmTrak arising out of the “Sunset Limited” train crash which resulted in 47 deaths and 103 injured.
How Do I Pay for a Train Accident Lawyer
Our 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. For a detailed discussion on fees and costs, click Fees & Costs.
When hiring a law firm to handle your train accident 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 Rafferty Accept a Train Accident Case in Pensacola
We review and accept train accident cases of every type and size, whether in Pensacola or throughout the United States. 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.