Incidents involving trains and cars or pedestrians are one of the most common forms of accidents in the United States.
If you’ve been involved in a railroad accident, where do you go from here, and what should you do?
Check out these helpful tips that will guide you through the process of dealing with a railroad-related accident so that you can navigate the situation in confidence.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Regardless of the type of railroad accident you’re involved in, you should get medical attention immediately. Railroad accidents are quite serious and often result in not just serious injuries, but may also result in death in some cases.
Contact your local emergency services immediately following the accident and inform them of the location and the situation. You may need to be taken by ambulance to a hospital if your injuries are severe.
Even if you’re in a vehicle and the car gets hit by a train, you can suffer serious and life-threatening injuries when a train is involved. In fact, the NTSB railroad accident reports state that motorists are far more prone to die in accidents involving trains than with other vehicles.
In 2020, there were a total of 1,889 collisions with a train in the United States. Out of that total, 202 ended in fatalities, and 675 resulted in some form of injury. The number of railroad accidents per year varies, but it’s always in the thousands which means getting medical attention is crucial.
Gather Evidence of the Railroad Accident
Once you’ve confirmed that yourself and anyone with you is physically safe, you’ll need to keep a record of what happened. In order to file an insurance claim and to possibly take the issue to court, you’ll need to have the right evidence to present your case.
Just like you’d take photos after a car accident, make sure you take plenty of pictures of the damage. If you’re unable to take photos, ask someone you trust to come to the site and do it for you.
Having clear, accurate photographs of your vehicle, the train, and the surrounding area can be invaluable if you need to file an insurance claim. You should also make sure that you get a copy of the police report for your records.
Once you’ve taken photos and gotten a copy of the police report, you’ll need to contact your insurance company right away. The sooner you report the accident, the faster your claim can be processed.
Filing a Claim
When you file an insurance claim in relation to a railroad accident, make sure that you give the representative as much information as possible. Tell them where you were, when it happened, and whether or not the proper safety mechanisms were in places, such as the railroad crossing lights or safety arm.
If the equipment was not working properly, then the railroad or the conductor could be liable. It’s crucial to make sure that you let the insurance company know if there were any improperly-working safety protocols at the railroad crossing.
Unfortunately, there are many factors involved in railroad accidents when it comes to who might be liable. In some instances, it’s the railroad manufacturer, or it could be the railroad itself. The conductor or railroad company could also be liable, but there must be substantial evidence in order for you to make that kind of claim.
Be open and honest with your insurance company about what happened. At the very least, you’ll be compensated for your vehicle so you can purchase a new one.
If you suffered major injuries, you might need the assistance of a railroad accident lawyer. These professional attorneys specialize in these types of accidents, so make sure you contact one if you need to file suit.
Finding a Lawyer
Sometimes, a railroad accident is cut and dry, and you’ll be compensated accordingly. Unfortunately, there are other times when you might need to take your case to court in order to get the compensation you deserve.
Keep in mind that there are different types of railroad injury lawyers and that they’re not all the same. Make sure you research the attorneys in advance and ask the right questions so that you’re confident about who you hire.
If you’ve been injured, it’s vital to hire a personal injury lawyer, but they should specialize in railroad-related injuries. An attorney who normally deals with auto accidents might not have the right type of experience to handle your case the right way.
Make sure you check references and ask other clients about the attorney. Finding out about their previous track record can help you make a good decision when the time comes.
There is a lot of complicated information that these attorneys need to be able to understand in order to make their case. Always look for attorneys that have experience in railroad accidents if you want a positive outcome in your favor.
Deal with Your Accident the Right Way
It’s never pleasant to deal with a railroad accident, but taking the right steps can help you recover faster. Always seek medical help immediately, and make sure that you gather as much evidence as possible just in case you end up in a courtroom or need help filing an insurance claim.
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