Many people are excited about the expansion of Brightline high-speed trains in Florida, but they are not without risk.
In fact, accidents can and do happen with trains – even ones using high-speed, cutting-edge technology like Brightline. A pedestrian was recently struck and killed in Boynton Beach when they walked into the path of the train. This is the fifth death that has occurred with Brightline since it restarted operations after being shut down due to COVID.
According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, Brightline has the worst fatality rate of any railroad in the United States. However, this may not entirely be the fault of the railroad company. It has been determined that a majority of the accidents that resulted in deaths were not the result of negligence on the part of their crews or failure of the equipment.
With trains becoming a popular mode of transportation in Florida and beyond, what can you expect if you are injured as a result of a train accident? Read on to find out.
Types of Train Accidents
There are many different types of trains in Florida, such as:
- High-speed trains, like Brightline
- Freight trains
- Intercity trains
- Light rails
- Regional trains
- Commuter trains
- Rapid transit
Trains in the state transport everything from goods to tourists to workers, so it’s no wonder that accidents happen with so much train travel in motion.
What types of accidents involving trains are most common? These are the most frequent occurrences:
- Injuries onboard, such as tripping or slipping and falling
- Mechanical failures
- Collisions with multiple trains
- Train derailment
- Collisions between pedestrians and trains at railroad crossings or on the tracks
It should come as no surprise that train accidents can be quite serious and even deadly. The specific details surrounding a train accident will determine whether a train company or operator can be held accountable for your injuries or for the death of a loved one. In certain cases, third parties can be held liable as well.
What Causes Train Accidents?
At the end of the day, a train is just another type of motor vehicle, and accidents can and do happen for a variety of reasons. In many cases, negligence may be part of the underlying issue for the accident.
Causes of train accidents tend to fall into one of these categories:
- Negligence or error on behalf of the train conductor or operator
- Fatigued or distracted operation of the train
- Train operation executed by someone inexperienced
- Lack of proper rail or train maintenance
- Improper maintenance at train crossings
- Improper maintenance of the train’s interior
- Negligent or inadequate security
- Defects, such as those involving safety equipment or tracks
- Dangerous conditions on the train
- Visual obstructions
- Signs that are missing or broken
Experienced attorneys who have previously worked on train accident cases can team up with specialists as they investigate train accidents on your behalf. You can rest assured that all avenues to get your compensation will be explored.
What Damages Can Be Recovered for a Train Accident?
Train accidents are likely to involve severe injuries and even death, so the damages sought in these cases can be extensive. Victims may be able to get compensation for damages such as:
- Medical care
- Lost wage, income, or any other type of employment benefit
- Medical treatment
- Any medical expenses in the future related to your injuries
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- Replacement of personal property
- Reduced earning capacity
- Burial or funeral costs
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of inheritance
Each case involving a train accident is different, but it’s important to know that, if you were injured, you may be able to get compensated for your injuries. This is the case especially if you can show that the accident involved negligence on the part of the train company or a third party.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
There is a statute of limitations in Florida train accident cases. You have to bring a lawsuit against the liable parties within four years of the day you were injured.
Train accidents are scary, especially if you are injured. Trains are such large motor vehicles that they can cause a lot of damage. But it’s important to understand that you have rights if you were injured in a train accident, especially if it was through no fault of your own. You owe it to yourself to investigate why the accident happened and what types of damages you may be entitled to as a result.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.