Thousands of miles of train tracks cross the nation. They carry commercial and passenger trains, which often go through populated areas and over busy roads. Where railroads, vehicles, and pedestrians meet, there is a significant risk of an accident that could lead to catastrophic injuries and tragic deaths. Wisconsin had 101 train accidents in 2016 involving nine separate railroad companies, including Union Pacific, Wisconsin Central, BNSH, Wisconsin Northern, and Amtrak.

When train accidents lead to injuries, the train passengers, motorists, and pedestrians involved may have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. In many cases the railroad company is liable. If a train or railroad accident leads to a fatality, then the victim’s family may have the option to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible individual or company. If you believe you may have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact our experienced railroad injury attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC today. We are here to review your situation, explain your rights, and guide you through your legal options.

Common Causes of Train & Railroad Accidents

With adequately maintained railroads, properly conducted trains, and responsible motorists, train and railroad accidents could become nonexistent. However, there are too many factors involved in rail travel across the state, providing too many places for something to go wrong and lead to a collision.

Some of the common causes of train and railroad accidents, include:

  • Train conductor negligence
  • Railroad employee negligence
  • Improper track and switch maintenance
  • Train derailment
  • Defective or improperly maintained equipment
  • Motorist’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions
  • Lack of railroad crossing warnings
  • Defective or broken railroad crossing warnings
  • Pedestrians on tracks

Determining Liability for a Train Accident

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a train accident, you may be interested in holding the at-fault party accountable and obtaining compensation for your injuries. You may have every right to do so, but first, you need to determine liability for the accident. This may be obvious based on initial reports by the police and other authorities. However, it may also require an in-depth investigation. If you were hurt in a train accident or lost a loved one in an incident, contact us at Studinski Law, LLC right away. We will work to help determine who is likely liable for your injuries. This could include the railroad company, the owners of the railroad track, a municipality, or a motorist.

Is an Insurance Settlement Available?

Once we have determined the cause of the accident and who is liable for your injuries, we can move forward with an insurance claim or suit. Whether you suffered personal injuries yourself or are grieving the loss of a spouse, parent, or child, you may first try to obtain compensation through an insurance claim. Success or failure in settling a case before filing a lawsuit may depend on the liable party, whether they have a relevant insurance policy, or whether you need additional information you can only get through filing suit. We are happy to walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of seeking compensation through an insurance claim prior to filing a lawsuit.

Filing Suit After a Train Accident

In some train and railroad accident cases, it is necessary to file suit. This enables your motor vehicle accident lawyer to utilize the discovery phase of litigation. During discovery, you and the other side exchange information. This can help your motor vehicle lawyer gather evidence to support your claim for compensation. At Studinski Law, LLC, we will fully explain the litigation process and what you can expect from taking your claim to court.

If you were injured in a train or railroad accident, you can seek compensation during a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit for your:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Property damage, when applicable
  • Punitive damages, when applicable

However, if you lost a loved one, the financial recovery you may obtain may be different. Through a wrongful death claim, you can seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial contributions
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of society and companionship/wrongful death

Contributory Negligence May Reduce or Bar Your Financial Recovery

During a personal injury claim, the compensation you may be entitled to could be reduced or prohibited entirely if you are partially to blame for the accidents and your injuries. You are entirely barred from a financial recovery if a court finds that you are more than half at fault for the accident. For instance, if you were a driver involved in a train-vehicle accident and a judge determines you are 51 percent or more responsible for the crash, then you will not recover any compensation.

However, if you are 50 percent or less responsible for the accident, then you may still recover compensation. It will be reduced by the percentage your fault. Therefore, if a court determine you are 50 percent at fault, your proven damages will be cut in half.

Contact Our Wisconsin Train Accident Lawyers Today

Trains can be seen as a novelty. Unless you ride a commuter train every day of the week, riding or watching a train may be rare and exciting. Unfortunately, this less-than-common mode of transportation can be unsuspectingly dangerous. Trains are extremely heavy and often move at high speeds. A derailment or collision with another train or vehicle is often catastrophic, leading to significant injuries or fatalities. If you are effected by a train accident, do not try and go it alone. Our train accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have the knowledge and experience you need to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Call us today at (715) 343-2850.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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