Serving West Virginia Areas of Parkersburg, Charleston and Morgantown
Even though train travel has decreased in recent decades, there are still numerous railroad accidents which cause severe injuries. Amtrak is the primary passenger train service and transports about 60,000 people each day. The West Virginia railroad accident attorneys at Jim Leach Attorneys at Law have helped many train accident victims receive the compensation they deserve. We put great emphasis on giving personal attention to each of our clients, listening carefully to the circumstances of each accident, and gathering information to build a strong case.
The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA)
Train passengers are not the only people injured in railroad accidents. Often, railroad workers are injured as well. FELA was enacted in 1908 by Congress to give benefits to railroad workers who are hurt on the job. Benefits are based on the principles of fault, unlike state Workers’ Compensation laws, which distribute benefits on a no-fault basis.
There are three main requirements an injured railroad employee must establish under FELA:
- The accident must have happened during the course of the worker’s employment.
- The railroad must be involved with interstate commerce with two or more states.
- The railroad must have caused or contributed to the worker’s injuries.
Get Your Train Accident Questions Answered
FELA requires that a railroad company provides its workers with a safe work environment. This includes having enough manpower, properly-functioning tools and equipment, periodic inspections of work areas and the enforcement of safety rules. If an injured railroad worker can show that the company failed in any of these respects, fault can thus be established, and the worker will be entitled to compensation.
There are four types of injuries covered:
- What you might think of as traditional injuries: broken bones, lacerations, and pulled muscles, for example.
- Repetitive stress injuries that develop gradually, such as hearing loss or tendonitis.
- Aggravation of a previous injury; FELA will regard this as a new injury.
- Occupational diseases if you can show that negligence caused them. Examples would be lung cancer, asbestosis or skin diseases.
You might be able to bring a claim for negligence on the part of the train operator. If the owner of the train is different from the operator, you could potentially sue the owner. There might be issues of negligent hiring of personnel, inadequate training of new personnel, or train or signal operators being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You might also be able to bring a claim against the train manufacturer, retailer, or a maintenance company if the accident was related to defective or malfunctioning parts – either on the train or on the tracks.
You may be entitled to receive the following compensation after being injured in a railroad accident:
- Economic compensation – for medical costs, income loss, diminished earning capacity, and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Non-economic damages – such as loss of quality of life, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
- Physical disfigurement or impairment damages – which would be compensation for scarring or any disabilities you now must live with.
Railroad accidents are often fatal, and if you have lost a loved one this way, you could file a wrongful death claim.
Yes, that trend has been happening. But the U.S. railroad system is still very large, with over 600 railroads and 200,000 miles of tracks. There’s a train accident about every 90 minutes in the U.S., and many of them cause injury or death. You don’t have to be a passenger on the train to be hurt in the accident. You might be driving your car over a railroad crossing, taking the subway to work, taking an elevated train in a tourist setting, or a railroad employee.
Almost any type of injury can be sustained in a railroad accident, including very severe injuries such as:
Types of Railroad Accidents
Common railroad accidents include:
- Railroad crossing accidents – These occur when a train collides with a vehicle on the crossing or hits a pedestrian.
- Derailments – Both cross-country trains and subway trains are occasionally subject to this type of accident, which results in serious personal injuries. The tracks need adequate maintenance, especially if they are exposed to rain and snow.
- Falls on to the train tracks – Sometimes a person tries to get off a moving train but falls and is hurt either by the fall or by the train. These accidents are often fatal.
- Two-Train Collisions – These accidents often occur if signaling is defective or communications are poor, resulting in two trains on the same track. These accidents can involve freight trains as well as passenger trains.
If you have been hurt in any type of railroad accident and feel that somebody else’s negligence is to blame, our personal injury lawyers can help you receive the compensation necessary to cover all damages incurred in the incident.
For additional information, please read our Railroad Accident Questions page.
West Virginia Railroad Accident Lawyers
Please contact our the railroad accident attorneys at Jim Leach, LC, today to schedule your free initial consultation. We represent train accident victims throughout West Virginia and Southern Ohio including the communities of Belpre, Parkersburg, Wheeling, Athens, Morgantown, Charleston, and Huntington.