Trains are a major part of life for many Washington, D.C. commuters and residents. Train accidents are almost always disastrous events and can be even more serious when hazardous materials are involved. Victims deserve experienced legal representation to uncover what happened and seek compensation. The personal injury lawyers of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP work with Washington D.C. train accident victims to help them win justice. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident, give our Washington D.C. train accident attorney a call.
Different Types Of Train Accidents
While trains and public transit systems are essential to modern life, there are unfortunately many different ways that people can be hurt or killed. Some examples are:
- Train/train collisions. While rare, trains can collide with one another and cause serious injury and death for passengers, crew, motorists, and pedestrians.
- Train derailments. Derailments are more common than people think and happen when the train goes off track.
- Railroad crossing accidents. Trains may crash with cars that stall on train tracks, or people and bicyclists attempting to cross tracks.
- Passenger and crew injuries. Not only are people on the ground injured during train accidents, but passengers and crew often are as well.
- Hazardous material exposure. Trains that are transporting hazardous materials sometimes derail or crash, and can potentially expose hundreds or thousands of people to dangerous substances.
Often, several of these different types of train accidents happen at one time, resulting in numerous victims. And not everyone may realize they’re a victim at first. A passenger in a crash may believe he or she only has minor injuries, when in reality they are much worse. Local residents may be unwittingly exposed to hazardous substances that become airborne after a crash, thereby jeopardizing their health. If you were either directly involved in a train crash or close to one involving chemicals or other dangerous materials, you should speak with an attorney.
What Causes A Washington D.C. Train Accident?
One of the most important steps that take place after a train crash is an official investigation. Various government entities may be involved with trying to piece together the sequence of events leading to the accident. Private attorneys representing victims rely upon the evidence uncovered in these investigations and also conduct their own.
Establishing the factual details of the crash is critical because it is up to the accident victim to prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit. Among the most common reasons that train accidents happen are:
- Negligent maintenance and repair. Trains are complicated, as are the railways, platforms, crossing signals, and other systems they rely upon. They have to be carefully maintained at all times or repaired when mechanical or other problems are detected. Frequent inspections are also key to keeping trains in proper working order.
- Safety violations. Sometimes the accident happens because a safety rule or regulation was intentionally violated or improperly followed. There are numerous regulations that govern trains and public transit systems. Failure to follow them can prove deadly.
- Inexperienced operator, crew, and others. The people in charge of trains, railways, platforms, and other parts of the train system need to have adequate experience and training. Lives depend on each of these individuals making intelligent judgments and using their skills to safely operate the trains.
- Operator negligence. The person in charge of actually operating the train could prove to be irresponsible in a number of ways. Inadequate sleep, distractions, and drug and alcohol intoxication are some examples.
- Inadequate hazardous materials controls. There are regulations that govern the transportation of hazardous materials on trains. These are intended to avoid accidents and minimize exposure in the case one occurs. If these rules aren’t followed people could develop serious illnesses or die.
Who Is Liable In A Washington D.C. Train Accident?
A number of different parties are responsible for ensuring trains and public transit systems run smoothly and safely. Although crew members can sometimes be responsible for accidents, the problem usually goes much deeper. One key role that your train accident attorney will play is ensuring that all potentially liable parties are identified and held accountable.
These are some of the entities who could be to blame:
- Governmental unit, like Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
- Private company such as a contractor
- Parts manufacturer in the event of a defective part
- Motorist in the event of a train collision
These are just a few of the parties who may be held liable. Sometimes multiple individuals or entities will share the blame, and it’s up to an experienced attorney to make sure a thorough investigation is completed to uncover exactly who did what.
What Compensation Is Available To Victims?
Every train accident is different, and every victim will suffer different losses (known as damages). A skilled Washington D.C. train accident attorney can help determine the nature of those damages and then make a claim for them. Common examples are:
- Medical bills
- Prescription drugs
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death claims, in the event a victim dies
Contact A Washington D.C. Train Accident Attorney
Train accidents are serious, and they require a serious law firm committed to advocating for the rights of victims. Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP gets results for victims and their loved ones by fighting for the compensation they deserve. Give us a call today to learn more.