Freight and cargo trains are the backbone of the transportation system that brings all types of products to and from Atlanta. But in an accident, a freight train can be deadly. Freight trains can have dozens of cars, each piled with cargo that may include flammable or hazardous substances.
In a derailment or collision with a pedestrian or vehicle, the damage can be catastrophic. If you are fortunate enough to survive an accident with a freight train, you may suffer lifelong injuries. But you don’t have to bear the financial burden alone. A freight or cargo train accident lawyer can help.
The lawyers at John Foy & Associates have dedicated themselves to helping accident victims for more than two decades. We understand how a single event can change a life forever, and we are committed to getting you the maximum financial recovery possible. We offer a free consultation to talk about your case and explain your rights.
Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
Who Is at Fault in Freight Train Accidents?
The question of fault will depend a lot on how the accident happened and what caused it.
If you’ve ever been stopped at a crossing watching a freight train crawl by, then you know how massive they can be. In fact, a loaded freight train can weigh hundreds of tons and take more than a mile to stop, making it impossible for engineers to avoid a collision with an obstacle on the track. Common causes of freight train accidents include:
- Engineer error
- Errors by drivers crossing the tracks, including distracted driving or not hearing the train horn because of loud music
- Pedestrians walking on the tracks
- Signal defects
- Defective equipment, including signal and crossing equipment or equipment on the train itself
- Crossings that are not well marked or maintained
- The engineer’s failure to sound a warning or obey other safety rules
- Crew or engineer fatigue
When the engineer or train company could have taken steps to avoid the accident, then the train company may be legally liable for your injuries. If the accident was caused by someone else’s carelessness, or negligence, then that person is responsible. One of the first things we do in any train accident case is to launch an investigation to find out what really happened and who can be held liable.
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What Kind of Injuries do You See in Freight Train Accidents?
Fortunately, freight train accidents cause fewer injuries than passenger train accidents. But because of the train’s size and weight, the injuries that do occur tend to be especially severe. The people most at risk are railroad employees, pedestrians along the tracks and motorists at train crossings. Common freight or cargo train injuries include:
- Injuries to pedestrians alongside the tracks, or people who live near the tracks
- Spinal cord injuries including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries
- Injuries caused by being crushed
- Property damage to properties near the tracks
If you are the victim or a freight train accident, we will work with you to make sure you have a full medical evaluation by doctors who are well qualified to treat your type of injury. Serious injuries often need ongoing treatment, and we want to make sure that you get a financial recovery that’s large enough to take care of your future needs as well as the ones you have now.
What Kind of Costs Can I Recover in a Freight Train Accident Case?
Freight train accidents are treated the same as any other kind of accident in the City of Atlanta—you are entitled recover to ALL of the costs and expenses resulting from the accident. This typically means that you can recover:
- Medical expenses, including hospitalization and surgery
- The cost of prescription medications
- The cost of physical or rehabilitative therapy
- Lost wages if the accident caused you to miss time from your job
If you were severely injured, have ongoing pain or are disabled because of the accident, the local courts may award you substantially more money. And if you lost a close family member, you may be eligible for recovery for wrongful death, meaning you can receive compensation for the your loved one’s lost income as well as for medical and funeral expenses.
What If I’m a Railroad Employee?
Railroad employees can also recover their costs and damages, but a different set of laws apply. The Federal Employees Liability Act, or FELA, was created in part to make sure that railroad employees get adequate compensation for their injuries.
FELA works a lot like the worker’s compensation system, except that in a FELA claim, a railroad worker must prove that his or her employer was negligent. As you might expect, railroads usually have teams of lawyers working for them, so we recommend that you also have an experienced lawyer on your side before you make a claim under FELA.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer? Won’t I Just Get Money from an Insurance Company?
In a passenger car accident, the other driver’s insurance company may offer you a settlement right away. Train accidents are rarely that clear cut. There are many parties that could be responsible, including the railroad company operating the train involved in your accident, the company responsible for the tracks and crossings, drivers who may no longer be around to describe what happened, a third-party contractor, or an equipment manufacturer. In some cases a government agency may be involved.
As you might expect, none of these parties will be eager to accept responsibility for your injuries. Often, it takes investigators and experts to fully assess all the factors that caused the accident.
Even when the cause is established, insurance companies for the responsible parties don’t want to pay any more than they have to, and it takes tough negotiation or a lawsuit to get the best financial recovery possible.
We think it’s wise to have a reputable personal injury lawyer looking out for your interests. We know how to handle these cases, and our fees are set up so that you will never pay anything unless we are able to win money for you. We handle the legal details, freeing you to focus on dealing with your loss and putting your life back together.
Talk to an Atlanta Freight Train Accident Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we want to help you get the money you need to rebuild your life after a freight train accident. We offer a free consultation where we’ll talk about your case and explain the law and your options.
Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.