If you or a loved one is healing from injuries after an Atlanta train accident, you could recover awards that compensate you for your injuries and suffering. The railway system in Atlanta delivers products and transports people between cities and towns every day. With so much railroad traffic moving about, accidents can inevitably happen.
Suppose you think the negligence of someone who works with the railroad system caused your accident. Our Atlanta train accident lawyers can help handle the logistics of filing a claim, negotiating with railroad company insurance representatives, and much more. We can explore your legal options with you during a free consultation.
Atlanta Train Accident Guide
When You Work With Our Firm, You Get:
- A proactive legal team: We understand the challenges of the injury cases we handle and prepare for challenges ahead of time. We provide flexibility and adaptability as needed, ensuring you get a legal strategy that works for your case.
- A compassionate legal advocate: We spend time getting to know you and your family and understanding the circumstances of your case so that we know how best we can help you. We also carefully evaluate your case, paying close attention to the details.
- Prompt communication about your case: We update you regularly on your case and explain all case developments to you. We take care to ask questions and listen to you so that we can promptly address your questions and concerns. We also aim for efficiency and use organized systems that save you and our team time.
We work hard for our clients’ financial recoveries. We secured five- and six-figure settlements for past clients, and we would like to do the same for you. You can reach out to us for a no-obligation evaluation to learn more about how our Atlanta train accident lawyer can help you. You can also read what our past clients say about working with us.
Heavy Train Traffic Causes Accidents Throughout Georgia
Per the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Georgia has more than 4,600 miles of active rail lines. The state’s busy hub for railroad activity links traveling trains to the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Northeast regions. The state has 28 freight railroads and four Amtrak routes, GDOT reports.
With all the state’s train traffic, collisions and fatalities at railroad crossings happen frequently. According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, 245 highway-rail accidents occurred in Georgia in one recent year. Of those, 113 crashes occurred when a train struck a highway user. In the remaining 132 accidents, a highway user struck a train. Collectively, 16 people died and 63 suffered injuries. In the Fulton County area, 25 crashes that fall under these categories occurred in 2021.
What Can Complicate an Atlanta Train Accident Case?
If the actions or negligence of railroad employees or a railroad company injured you, do not let the company's size intimidate you.
We won't. We have successfully filed injury claims against major corporations—their size makes them no less at fault. However, some victims face challenges when they speak with the insurance companies that could jeopardize their right to fair compensation.
Insurance company representatives may try any number of tactics to avoid paying victims fairly. They may ignore your demands for justice or trick you into giving an incriminating statement that they can use later to blame you for the accident. Additionally, they might offer you a meager settlement far less than what your claim is worth.
Our Atlanta train accident lawyer can anticipate these tactics and sidestep them as we negotiate on your behalf. When you hire us to represent you, we deal with the insurers for you, saving you time and ensuring you avoid saying something that insurers could use against you later.
What Kind of Injuries Are Common in Train Accidents?
Injuries are often catastrophic when a train strikes a vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist—especially if the train did not have time to reduce its speed before impact. Catastrophic injuries are life-threatening and may leave survivors with disabling injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burns, scarring, or disfigurement
- Traumatic amputations
Other injuries are also possible in train accidents.
When one train collides with another or if the train has time to slow down before impact, victims may suffer:
- Back or neck injuries
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue or joint injuries
- Contusions, abrasions, or lacerations
Because train accidents vary widely in severity and cause, almost any type of injury is possible. Victims need to work closely with their doctors to get the treatment and support they need to recover as fully as possible. However, not all injuries heal. Many train accident victims suffer lasting injuries and ongoing challenges for the rest of their lives.
The Impacts of a Train Accident Are Often Significant
Many train accident victims have severe enough injuries that they require emergency medical care at the scene. This is usually the beginning of a long process of stabilizing, treating, rehabilitating, and learning to live with injuries.
If the injuries are severe enough, train accident victims may need to go by ambulance or medical helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital (the only certified Level I trauma center in Atlanta) or the nearest emergency department. Treating severe injuries may require testing and assessment, hospitalization, surgery, and more. Some people spend weeks or months at the hospital recovering from their injuries.
Once an accident victim's injuries begin to heal and the doctors have a treatment plan, rehabilitation and therapy will start.
This may include:
- Physical therapy to regain movement and build muscle
- Occupational therapy to relearn skills
- Speech therapy for speaking or swallowing
- Inpatient therapy for those with catastrophic injuries
Some spinal cord and traumatic brain injury victims may spend time as inpatients at Shepherd Center, a renowned rehabilitation facility for these injuries.
Some Victims Recover, But Many Others Don’t
Some people recover fully from their train accident injuries, but many live with lasting effects. They may miss months at work, exhausting any paid time off they had. Others cannot return to their previous career. Some never work again because of their injuries.
People with the most severe injuries, such as permanent paralysis, require around-the-clock care and support for the rest of their lives. The costs of these injuries are immense, both financially and emotionally.
What Compensation Can I Recover for an Atlanta Train Accident?
You could recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages after an Atlanta-area train accident. The amount you receive depends on the circumstances of your accident, the extent of your injuries, how long your recovery time is, and other factors. Economic and non-economic damages constitute the most common compensation.
Economic damages are financial expenses from the train accident. Any medical expenses, medications, physical therapy, or follow-up doctor visits related to your injury may qualify for compensation. Future and ongoing care costs may also be recoverable, which is especially important to anyone who requires additional care and support.
Train accidents can result in severe traumatic injuries. If you develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or other physiological issues after a train crash, treating those injuries also falls under economic damages.
These damages include lost earnings, such as your salary, tips, bonuses, and even piecework and commissions. You could receive compensation if you miss work while healing from your accident. If your injuries prevent you from returning to your job due to their severity, you may also seek compensation for future lost earning capacity.
These damages have no specific or clear financial value. Non-economic damages compensate you for your pain and suffering. Examples of non-economic damages include emotional duress, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life. Our attorneys can evaluate your losses to calculate a settlement value for your non-economic damages.
How Do I Know How Much My Atlanta Train Accident Is Worth?
One advantage of working with our firm's Atlanta train accident lawyers is that we pursue fair and just damages for our clients. We will not settle for less than a case is worth because we know how much money our client needs to pay their medical bills, cover lost income, replace their vehicle, and handle other related expenses.
We calculate the value of the claim by adding the value of economic losses using evidence such as:
- Medical bills
- Receipts for related expenses
- Car repair estimates or replacement value of the vehicle
- Medical expert input on future treatment and care costs
- Documentation of lost wages and future lost income
Once we add the economic losses suffered, we estimate the intangible losses sustained by our client. We have the experience necessary to put a fair value on your economic and non-economic losses.
Do Not Accept Less Than You Deserve
When accident victims try to handle a claim alone, they often accept or demand too little from the insurance company for their damages. Working with one of our attorneys can stop this from happening. We know how to determine how much you deserve and how to negotiate with the insurer to get it.
How Does the Claims Process Work After an Atlanta Train Accident?
When our Atlanta train crash lawyers take on a case, we begin by getting to know the client and learning their story. You can trust us to listen to your side of things, work to understand your goals, and explain how we can help.
Our team goes to work quickly to begin our investigation into what happened, which includes:
- Obtaining official documents from law enforcement, GDOT, and other agencies
- Identifying and interviewing eyewitnesses
- Requesting medical records
- Sending a spoliation letter to the train owner or operator to preserve evidence
- Surveying the crash scene
- Reconstructing the accident as needed
- Enlisting the help of experts as needed
- Documenting damages and valuing the claim
Once we have the necessary evidence, we can organize it into an argument to support the client’s compensation claim. We then determine a fair settlement range and demand a payout from the insurance company or legal team representing the liable party.
Reaching a Settlement or Going to Court
In many cases, the liable party will come back with a counteroffer. This is generally much lower than we demanded and too little to cover our client's medical bills and other needs. Therefore, we begin negotiations to reach a settlement that suits both parties.
While settling out of court is the preferred option for many people, we do not recommend accepting a lowball settlement. No client should have to pay for their care or other expenses out of their own pocket. We strive to recover fair and just compensation for you, and we may need to sue the at-fault party to achieve this goal.
Do I Have to Sue to Recover Compensation?
Some Atlanta train accidents do not require us to sue the train company or another liable party. Instead, we settle with the company or its insurer without filing a complaint in a Fulton County court or any other civil court in Georgia. In fact, this is a common resolution for personal injury cases.
However, some circumstances call for a lawsuit. We will discuss this possibility with you if we believe it may be necessary in your case. Our attorneys know when legal action may be the best route for winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve.
This can occur if:
- The liable party or insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement
- There are disagreements about liability
- There are outstanding questions related to the facts of the case
- Punitive damages may be available
- We identify another reason why a lawsuit would benefit your case
Not All Cases Go to Trial—But We’re Here for You When They Do
It is important to remember that not all lawsuits go to trial. Just because we need to sue in your case does not mean you will have to testify in front of a jury or spend days in a courtroom. While some cases go to trial, many settle during ongoing negotiations, mediation, or at another point before the trial date.
If your case does go to trial, our team will be there to represent you and ensure that you know what to expect every step of the way. We will protect your rights, present strong evidence, and ask the judge or jury to award fair compensation based on the facts of the case.
How Long Do I Have to File My Atlanta Train Accident Case?
Injured parties in Georgia have two years to protect their right to sue. This law is the statute of limitations deadline. While two years sounds like a long time, Atlanta train accident cases have complex issues. Gathering the necessary documentation to build a credible case takes time. If you miss your deadline, you may forever lose your opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries.
You should file your case as soon as you can. Two years can pass quickly, and with the delay or misdirection tactics many insurance companies use, your deadline could pass faster than you think. Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group can investigate your accident and gather your medical records, witness testimony, surveillance camera footage, and other evidence to build a solid foundation for your case.
How Do Atlanta Train Accidents Happen?
Atlanta traffic is notoriously heavy. Heavy traffic—including train traffic—creates more chances for human error and serious injury.
Train travel in or near Atlanta is so busy because of three main lines that converge in the city:
- Amtrak lines
- Freight lines
- MARTA commuter lines
All the railway traffic in the area increases the probability of accidents. But train accidents do not occur just with trains. Motor vehicles at train crossings commonly lead to train accidents. Pedestrians walking along railroads also suffer injuries in collisions.
Railroad Companies and Extraordinary Care
Railroad companies must use extraordinary care to avoid railway accidents. If they neglect this minimum standard of safety and diligence, victims of these accidents can file claims or lawsuits against these companies.
Railroad companies must maintain extraordinary care because of the catastrophic dangers of railroad accidents. While automobile accidents occur more often than train accidents, trains weigh several thousand tons. Some train accidents have resulted in multiple fatalities due to the massive size and weight of trains and the cars they pull.
What Atlanta Train Accidents Occur?
Train accidents occur due to:
- Trains colliding with cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles at railway crossings
- Two or more trains colliding on the rails
- Suicide attempts
- Accidental deaths when children, teens, or even adults walk, run, or play on the tracks
- Pedestrians trying to cross the track at non-railway crossing intersections
- Train operators and conductors who make mistakes while onboard, leading to an accident
- A train that derails
- Collapsing railroad bridges
Georgia Has Set Strict Laws to Prevent Railroad Crossing Accidents
According to Georgia law, railroad companies must follow local government requests to maintain railroad crossings. If parties ignore or fail to follow these local government mandates, railroad companies can face steep fines and civil penalties. GDOT can request upgrades or maintenance of railroad crossings.
The Federal Employers Liability Act
The Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA) stipulates that if a railroad employee suffers an injury on the job, they can sue their employer for financial compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Further, FELA permits employees to sue their employers for economic and non-economic damages without following worker's compensation laws. Injured employees may also receive punitive damages from a negligent employer.
Who Can You Hold Responsible for Your Atlanta Train Accident?
Complexities in train accidents arise because many people may play a role in such an accident. This complexity includes several parties, such as train operators, train companies, dispatchers, and other accountable personnel. The examples below list some people who may share responsibility for an Atlanta train accident.
Train operators share liability for accidents when they:
- Drive faster than legally established railway speed limits
- Ignore signals and controls
- Close the doors on passengers as they enter or exit the train
- Operate a train while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Collide with a person or motor vehicle at a railway crossing intersection
Sometimes a train company is responsible for accidents or injuries caused by the train operators they employ. The train company hires their operators and presumably ensures their employees will receive proper training. Because of this, the company may bear responsibility for its operators’ actions.
If the train company employs a train operator with known problems, the company holds the liability for:
- Hiring the operator
- Continuing to employ the operator even after they caused accidents
- Supervising the operator’s actions
Observing Safety Protocols
The responsibility for maintaining, repairing, and operating all the equipment needed to operate their businesses falls on the train companies. They must also observe all safety protocols for their equipment.
These protocols include but are not limited to:
- Train cars
- Train stations
- Passenger waiting platforms
Train companies must correct slip and fall hazards or warn passengers of hazardous conditions that could make them fall. Train companies are also vicariously liable if one of their employees causes a train accident due to Georgia’s recognition of the legal doctrine of respondeat superior. Therefore, we almost always pursue a case against the train company when their employee acts negligently and causes an accident.
In addition to train operators and train companies, other potential parties may hold responsibility for a train accident. The dispatchers have a degree of responsibility as well. They track and maintain train movements and switch positions. They keep trains moving and organized, ensuring multiple trains avoid traveling the same tracks simultaneously.
Two or more trains can crash when individuals fail to meet these responsibilities, causing passengers onboard these trains to suffer serious injuries.
Government Agencies or Municipalities
Depending on your train accident’s circumstances, a government organization may hold the liability for your injuries. Before filing a lawsuit, you must follow any applicable notice provisions. A notice provision is an agreement between two or more people or entities. The notice provision may have specific steps you must follow to file a claim or lawsuit. Our Atlanta train accident law firm can explain any existing notice provisions for submitting a claim for your accident.
If your seat or another part of the passenger train you travel on fails and injures you, you could file a claim against that product’s manufacturer. Because these manufacturers and distributors must keep users safe, any injuries from the product failure may establish the company’s negligence.
Wrongful Death in an Atlanta Train Accident
Unfortunately, some train accident injuries are fatal. Our team has the experience and knowledge to pursue compensation for wrongful death in these complex cases. Georgia law allows families who lost a loved one to recover compensation and get justice. Our train accident lawyers handle wrongful death claims in Fulton County and greater Atlanta.
Wrongful deaths occur when another party’s negligence causes an accident and injuries that lead to death. If your loved one passed away before they could pursue compensation for their train accident injuries, your family can likely seek a payout based on your losses.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
The recoverable damages in a wrongful death case include the expenses and losses incurred by the victim and their surviving family members, such as:
- Outstanding medical bills
- Property damage
- Funeral, burial, or cremation costs
- Lost income up to the date of death
- Loss of future income after their passing
- Loss of services they previously performed
- Loss of companionship, guidance, or other intangible damages
Georgia law is clear about who can file a wrongful death claim. In many cases, the deceased's spouse is the only party allowed to take this action. If there is no spouse, a surviving child can, followed by parents or siblings. If the deceased left no immediate relatives, the executor or administrator of the estate can take legal action on behalf of the person's heirs.
Our attorneys can meet with you to discuss your legal rights during a free initial consultation. We know this is a difficult time for you and your family, and we do not want you to face financial stress on top of your grief. We may be able to fight for justice for your family and hold the at-fault parties accountable.
Atlanta Train Accident FAQs
Below we have a few common questions people have after a train accident. No two train accidents are the same, so you can reach out to us to get counsel specific to your situation.
What Should I Do After a Train Accident?
See a doctor promptly to evaluate your health, treat any injuries, and foresee any medical issues that could emerge later. Your physical exam also shows that you received prompt medical treatment and that the accident caused your injuries.
Other things you can do include:
- Taking photos and videos of the accident scene, your injuries
- Collecting contact information from witnesses
- Getting an official crash police report
- Contacting a legal representative to find out your legal options
Should I Accept an Offer After an Atlanta Train Accident?
We do not advise accepting an offer from an insurance company without first discussing it with an attorney. Insurance companies often offer settlements in the initial weeks after an accident in hopes the victim will not realize the severity of their injuries.
You only get one chance to get the money you need after an Atlanta train collision. One of the biggest mistakes that injury victims make is underestimating how much it will cost to pay for their medical care and other expenses related to their accident. Have an attorney evaluate your case before agreeing to a settlement. That can help you avoid this issue.
What Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for an Atlanta Train Accident Case?
Many personal injury lawyers and firms represent injury victims on contingency. This policy means they work on the case and cover its costs without any upfront payment from the client. We receive payment only if we recover compensation for you.
This arrangement allows clients to hire legal representation without worrying about the costs. We operate under the same fee arrangement. If we win your case, a percentage of your award covers your legal costs. We can explain this payment plan more during your no-obligation evaluation.
How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Injury Case?
If a train accident injured you in Atlanta, you owe it to yourself to learn about your legal options. Our attorney can listen to your story to understand the accident's timeline and how the train crash happened.
They can also review your evidence and the losses you suffered to determine how much compensation you can request from the parties responsible for the accident. Having our injury lawyer look out for your interests starts when you reach out to us for an evaluation at no obligation to you.
A Lawyer Can Review Your Atlanta Train Accident Case Today
After a serious train accident, you may suffer from severe trauma, pain, and medical bills your insurance company doesn't cover. You may wonder how to pay your bills and feed your family while you cannot work. Seeking justice from those responsible seems like the right thing, but you may not know where to start.
The Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group's attorneys understand what you are going through. We can put our years of practicing law to work for you so that you can receive the compensation you need to put your life back together after the accident. To get started, contact us today at (404) 609-1724 for your free, no-obligation evaluation.
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