Travel by train is supposed to take you up and over the packed highways of the city and help you avoid busy airports and avoid car accidents. Riding the rail with companies like Amtrak or the city SEPTA trains can be great alternatives to driving yourself and your family, but the railway operators have to be able to perform those services while keeping passengers, motorists, and pedestrians safe.
Accidents endangering lives can happen at railroad crossings, trainyards, stations, and anywhere along a train route. These dangerous collisions and train derailments happen every year in Philadelphia. The train industry is liable for these accidents when they occur and they owe it to victims and their families to provide for medical care and recovery after an injury.
Contact a Train Accident Lawyer
If you are injured in an accident involving a train, you should make sure you have legal representation so that insurance agents and adjusters that show up after an accident can’t trick you into taking less than what’s fair. An attorney like Edith Pearce, Esquire of The Pearce Law Firm, P.C., in Philadelphia can protect your rights after a train accident and fight to get every cost of care now and in the future covered.
Your train ticket isn’t just redeemed for a trip to your destination. It’s also a contract that holds train companies accountable for your wellbeing. Contact The Pearce Law Firm, P.C., for a free consultation on your accident for an honest look at all of your options.
Railroad Accident Dangers in Philadelphia
Nationally, Department of Transportation officials documented 2019 as an especially deadly year for accidents involving trains. The U.S. saw 11,434 train accidents over the year. Those accidents resulted in 7,730 injuries and a tragic 937 lives lost. The fatality rate was the highest it had been at any time in the past 7 years.
PennDOT reported 42 train vs. vehicle accidents in 2018 resulting in two deaths across Pennsylvania. In 2019 the number of accidents went down, but the number of fatalities resulting from those collisions rose. There were 34 accidents in the state with five lives lost.
Philadelphia was the scene of a devastating Amtrak train accident in May of 2015 in the Kensington Neighborhood. Amtrak 188 was found to have been traveling at 102 mph in a 50 mph zone when it turned over. That high-speed derailment killed eight people and left 200 people with injuries. WHYY-TV reported on the accident and the investigation into the causes in 2019.
These accidents that leave so much damage behind can carry severe consequences for victims and their families. It can take years for a full recovery from injuries and permanent disabilities and disfigurement are always possibilities.
Liability in Philadelphia Train Accidents
Railroads have a duty to make their cars and crossings safe including operating the trains in a manner safe for their riders and providing gates, lights, and other warnings to motorists and pedestrians. Railroad companies are also responsible for their pedestrian crossings, steps, platforms, bridges, and stations. In addition, FELA ( Federal Employers Liability Act ) claims can be raised by injured employees of railroads.
In Amtrak incidents, the government has set limitations on how much liability the corporation has to accept in a single accident. The limit is set at 295 million dollars. That may be more than enough for a single train vs. a vehicle accident, but when a train disaster involves hundreds of people, it can be possible that some victims don’t get the compensation they need to cover all of their hospital costs and get enough to recover financially. An attorney with experience in dealing with national corporations can help find loopholes in these limits and also uncover other parties who may be held responsible for your accident.
When an accident involves a Philadelphia SEPTA train there are similar limits in place to protect the city:
- $1 million Damage Cap: Regardless of how many people are injured, the law caps all damages from a single incident to $1 million.
- $250,000 Per Person Cap: Even though the overall cap is $1 million, each person is limited to an individual cap of $250,000.
The Complexity of Train Accident Cases
Train accident lawsuits can be difficult to litigate. There are often contributing causes to the accident, multiple defendants and multiple insurance companies involved.
Complicated legal agreements between multiple railroad companies, municipalities, and private companies almost always exist and may limit who is responsible for the accident. Also, railroad companies and their insurance companies have strong teams of aggressive defense lawyers experienced at minimizing claims.
To protect your legal rights following catastrophic injury or death due to a train accident, it is wise to consult a personal injury law firm with experience in train accident lawsuits as soon as possible. Within the first week, important physical evidence can be lost, and witnesses may become hard to find.
Contact a Philadelphia Train Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a train accident, our experienced Philadelphia train accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident and work diligently to arrive at a timely settlement or proceed to trial to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Before deciding to represent injured people, Edith Pearce spent over ten years working as an attorney for an insurance company and defense firm. She knows all the “tricks of the trade” from the other side of the fence and knows how to navigate through the complexities of train accident lawsuits to get you full and fair compensation for your injuries, losses, and suffering.
Contact us today for a FREE ACCIDENT CONSULTATION.
We are dedicated to protecting your rights and obtaining full and fair compensation for you.
No Recovery/No Fee/ Contingent Fee Cases Accepted
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a train accident attorney after an accident?
It would certainly help. Unfortunately, companies like Amtrak and City transportation agencies will already have lawyers ready to go to work and if you don’t have legal representation you can easily be taken advantage of. Amtrak hires its lawyers to weaken a victim’s claim for compensation with the hopes they have to pay very little or nothing at all. In these accidents, victims have been known to only get enough money to pay for an emergency room visit and nothing else. An attorney with The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. can make sure you don’t accept lowball offers. Having an attorney also strikes fear in corporations because they know an attorney won’t hesitate to take them to court over a claim. This can provide motivation for them to offer you a quick, fair settlement.
Do I need an Amtrak train accident lawyer?
Contrary to popular belief, Amtrak is not a government-owned entity. It is, however, backed by the federal government. This is very important information for anyone filing a complaint, as the process is significantly different. Amtrak does, however, have special protections against lawsuits such as a cap on damages.
Companies like Amtrak may delay or deny claims and/or try to minimize injury claims because even if they lose, they’ll still get more money from the government. Amtrack is very likely to give lowball offers to those who are not adequately represented. We represent clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of Amtrak train accident, contact us right away for a free and confidential consultation.
Should I give a statement to train company representatives?
You should never give a statement to anyone representing a train company. It may be a lawyer or insurance agent asking you how you’re doing. They are hoping you’ll say something that diminishes your claim. Something they can use against you later. Don’t say that you’re alright or uninjured after an accident either. Your injuries may not appear or cause you pain until the next day. Better to let your attorney handle all communication with a train company.
What kind of things can I get compensation for after a railroad accident?
Damages that a train accident victim and the victim’s family are entitled to recover may include: hospital and medical expenses; past and future lost earnings; past and future permanent physical disability, such as a limp, scars, loss of a limb; emotional distress, such as depression and anxiety; grief and emotional suffering caused by the death of a loved one; loss of love and companionship caused by the death of a loved one; damage or destruction of property; physical pain and suffering; loss of enjoyment of life.
What if I am injured in a train accident out of state?
Residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or other states should know that they can indeed file a lawsuit against the train company even if they were injured out of state.