Personal injury claims filed against Amtrak and other rail companies are among the most complex types of litigation. Similar to automobile collisions, there are often several parties to examine for fault. Additionally, the injuries can be quite severe, demanding quick financial aid to meet hospital costs. An accomplished Kansas City train accident attorney can possibly be able to assist you in obtaining the justice you deserve.
Increased Train Accident Personal Injury Claims
There are more than 200,000 railroad crossings in the U.S., and hundreds of thousands of miles of track. The frequency of train derailments, collisions, and other dangerous incidents has increased drastically over the last several years—which in turn, causes a rise in the number of claims made against Amtrak and other railroad companies. Many of these claims resulted in substantial losses.
In addition, the frequency and severity of these crashes raise concerns about the railroad industry’s dedication to safety. While the National Transportation Safety Board reports advances in railroad safety through partnerships with local authorities, investment in updated technology such as positive train controls, operational improvements, and other factors, tragedies still occur.
Here are vital steps to take after a railway accident to ensure the success of your claim.
Bringing a Personal Injury Claim After a Train Accident
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Missouri is five years, and in Kansas, two years. However, you must contact an attorney promptly after the railway accident. A reluctance to do so may significantly impact your case because:
- Railroad companies stay in constant communication with their train operators. When an accident happens, the operator alerts headquarters immediately.
- Corporate investigators arrive at the site within hours, if not sooner. In some situations, these investigators may be on the scene even before many first responders.
So the clock is ticking on how quickly your case can be established. You need someone on your side to quickly assess the situation, collect evidence from the accident site, interview witnesses, and so on. Otherwise, evidence can be lost, and memories of events fade.
Train accident cases resemble other personal injury and wrongful death claims in many ways. The only distinction is that this sort of case often involves more plaintiffs. Here’s how the timeline works:
- The case begins with the filing of a complaint against the train corporation, outlining the negligence that caused the accident. The filing takes place in the jurisdiction where the railway accident occurred.
- The railroad responds to the complaint. The railroad firm or company also provides its defense at this time.
- During the discovery stage, the plaintiffs and defendants exchange evidence.
- Typically, hearings follow swiftly. These sessions handle any pending pretrial motions. Generally, the pretrial motions comprise conversations about the admissible evidence, facts on which the parties agree, and other contested subjects.
- Trial begins.
- A verdict is delivered. Additionally, if the railway corporation is proven to be at fault, damages are granted.
Federal law limits the compensation pool to $295 million. This is the result of the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997, a piece of legislation that originally capped Amtrak catastrophe victims’ compensation at $200 million. Although it was raised to $295 million in 2015, this cap may still threaten the rightful compensation of future victims and their families. All the more reason to retain skilled legal counsel with the proper experience in the complicated litigation of train accidents.