Who’s Liable in a Train Accident?

Categories: Personal Injury

When a train accident occurs, it typically makes the headlines. This is because they don’t occur often. Unfortunately, though they aren’t common, train accidents often result in fatalities. When a person dies, they maintain their legal rights. If a loved one has passed away due to injuries sustained in a train accident, you and other surviving family members have the right to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Common Carriers

In legal speak, trains are considered a common carrier. This means it is a vehicle that transports goods or people and charges for that service. As a common carrier, a train company has a higher duty of care when it comes to the safety of its passengers.
When a family sues a train company, like Amtrak, for an accident, the company is held to that standard of care. Common carrier liability is often named in the lawsuit. It stands to reason that these companies should be, and are, held to higher expectations when it comes to maintaining and operating their vehicles.

Costs Associated with a Train Accident

When a train accident occurs, the medical bills for a victim of the accident can become astronomical. Unlike a car accident where typically only a few people incur injury, a train accident can result in the injury of dozens, even hundreds, of people. When you consider the costs of medical care, lost wages and funeral costs needed for these victims, it becomes apparent why lawsuits ask for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.
Amtrak receives government funds, but it is still liable for any lawsuits filed against it. Even though this is the case, the government has put a cap on Amtrak’s liability at $295 million. This means that no matter how many people are injured or killed, the train company will not pay out more than that in total.

You Have Rights

Despite the cap on Amtrak’s liability, if you are injured in an Amtrak train accident or a loved one is killed in an accident involving one of the company’s trains, you have rights. You absolutely have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim. Your family should not suffer financial difficulty because of an accident that you had no control over.
If you have been the victim of a train accident in San Luis Obispo, please reach out to our office. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation and advise you of your legal rights and options. You should not face financial difficulty because of such an accident nor should you have to struggle to pay funeral costs for a loved one. Call our office today and speak with a member of our team to arrange for your consultation.