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Assessing the Future After a Train Accident

September 08, 2018

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Reuters and other news outlets recently reported that sulfur fires broke out in the small southern Pennsylvania town of Hyndman after dozens of CSX Corporation rail cars went off the train tracks. Officials have not been able to figure out the cause of the derailment yet. Although it seems that nobody was hurt due to the incident, city officials asked about one thousand people to leave town just to stay on the safe side.

Pennsylvania is unfortunately no stranger to train accidents. In fact, most are still recovering after the deadly 2015 Philadelphia Amtrak accident, which stole the lives of eight people and left over two hundred injured. Despite having faced what seems to have been the worst with the Amtrak accident, the sad truth is that many more accidents involving trains have occurred after that, and more will likely continue to occur in the future. Although the one in Hyndman did not report any injuries or deaths, the next one might. If you or a loved one is caught up in a train accident, make sure you are equipped with the knowledge that can help you during the unthinkable.

Why Did it Happen?

There are many reasons that may cause a train accident, including a driver’s lack of attention, human error, train product failure, maintenance issues, track failure, and more. Generally, there is human fault involved, however. Such human error can come from workers on the train or even crew members that only interacted with the train before it left for its destination. Conducting a proper investigation will allow you to figure out who is at fault.

What Kind of Claims Can I Bring?

Not all, but most claims will generally come in the form of a negligence claim. This would primarily require you to prove that (1) you suffered injuries, (2) the train company owed you a legal duty, (3) it breached that duty, and (4) that breach caused your injuries. With respect to railroad companies under Pennsylvania law, the duty that they have gets trickier when considering trespassers. Generally, it owes no duty to keep its property safe for or to give warnings to trespassers. This is known as “railroad civil immunity.”

What Kind of Relief Can I Get?

If you are involved in a train accident, you will want to make sure to get immediate medical help. Keep track of the bills and documents that are generated through the medical process. This will help you in any potential lawsuits. You may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, along with pain and suffering. It is also possible for the train company to have to pay punitive damages.

Contact a Member of Our Team Today

Trains are still a form of transportation in today’s world—whether they are transporting humans, animals, or goods. Sometimes, however, the trains injure or kill people. If you or a loved one has been involved in a train accident, make sure to get the representation that you deserve. van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim in Philadelphia is ready to help you investigate the accident, figure out what claims to bring, and get you the relief that you deserve.



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