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. Our railway system has operated for a long time, delivering products and transporting people between cities and states. With so much railroad traffic moving about, accidents inevitably can happen.
If you think the negligence of someone who works with the railroad system caused your accident, the 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.
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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 train traffic the state sees, collisions and fatalities at railroad crossings happen frequently. According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), 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 (from both categories) occurred in 2021.
What Can Complicate an Atlanta Train Accident Case?
If the actions or negligence of railroad employees or railroad company injured you, do not let the company's size intimidate you. We won't. We have successfully filed claims against major corporations because their size does not make them any less at fault. However, some victims run into challenges when they speak with the insurance companies. These representatives often try to avoid paying victims their fair compensation.
Insurance company representatives may try any number of tactics. 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 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. The most common kinds of compensation fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are financial expenses from the train accident. Any medical expenses, medications, physical therapy, or follow-up doctor visits related to your injury qualify for compensation.
Train accidents can result in serious traumatic injuries. If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or other physiological issues after a train crash, treating those injuries fall under the economic damages heading.
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 expenses. 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 in life.
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 by 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 of all kinds is heavy. Heavy 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
Because there is a lot of railway traffic in the area, there is a higher probability of accidents. But train accidents do not occur just among the trains. Motor vehicles at train crossings commonly lead to train accidents.
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.
These 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 Kinds of 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 collide on the rails
- Suicide attempts when pedestrians step onto the tracks and do not move as a train approaches
- Accidental deaths when children, teens, or even adults walk, run, or play on the tracks
- Accidents when pedestrians try to cross the track at non-railway crossing intersections
- Train operators and conductors who make mistakes while onboard, leading to an accident
- Accidents caused by 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 stipulates that if a railroad employee suffers an injury while on the job, they can sue their employer for financial compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Further, the FELA also 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 if their employer is negligent.
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
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
They must correct slip and fall hazards or warn passengers of hazardous conditions that could make them fall.
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.
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?
You should see a doctor promptly so they can evaluate your health, treat any injuries you have, and possibly foresee any 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
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. The attorneys receive pay only if they recover compensation for their clients. If they do not win the case, then their clients do not owe them.
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 you suffered an injury in a train accident in the Atlanta area, 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.
Have Our Lawyer Review Your Atlanta Train Accident 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 to do, but you may not know where to start.
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. Call us today at (404) 609-1724, or send us a message through our contact page for your free, no-obligation evaluation.
Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group - Atlanta Office
1900 Century Pl NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
*By Appointment Only
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