Train accidents are among the most disastrous that occur. Hundreds of passengers and pedestrians may suffer injuries and a large amount of property damage due to these accidents. Property damages might result in millions or several hundreds of millions of dollars worth of compensation. If the railroad company was responsible for a crash that resulted in your injuries or even the death of your ‘nest-of-kin’ the company should be held accountable for the wrongful death and other damages that occurred.
Here is what you should know about the railroad accident lawsuits and settlements:
Railroad accident claim settlement:
Many claims associated with railroad crashes are settled out of court. Train agencies and other state transit authorities prefer to evade exposure and negative corporate image that might arise in case the company was sued. That’s the reason they prefer settlement as it allows the involved parties to avoid most expenses and the risks associated with court processes.
Depending on what you agree with the railroad company, the settlement can happen before, during, or after the train crash case is finished. The process of settlements involves the exchange of financial offers in which you (or your attorney) and the company propose the amount they feel would cover injuries and damages that occurred. It’s wise to work with a reliable Metra accident attorney during this process.
Note that settlement negotiations benefits and downsides. For instance, settling a claim in time means that the railroad company has the resources to offer the amount agreed upon during the negotiations. However, the process of settlement eliminates the possibility of a grand jury awarding a higher amount than the railroad company would agree to pay.
Railroad accident lawsuits:
Railroad accident lawsuits are just like other civil cases involving wrongful death or personal injury. But these lawsuits involve more victims than most types of injury cases. When filing a claim, you should start by filing a complaint with a court that holds jurisdiction over the crash. The railroad company and its insurer then file a response that includes all the defense they have.
During the ‘discovery’ period, the victim and the railroad company exchange evidence and then a hearing about any pretrial motions. The pretrial relates to a debate over the evidence that may be accepted, the facts that the involved parties can agree upon, and other relevant preliminary matters. A court trial is held, and at the end, a verdict is made. If the train company is liable, then, the court sets the specific amount of damages.
The primary reason settlement negotiations might occur after the verdict is rendered involved parties have the right for any of the involved parties to appeal the court’s judgment. You or the railroad company can seek a settlement after the verdict in exchange for the other parts consent not to pursue a court appeal.
Note that train workers who get injured in a train crash are subject to a different train crash lawsuit and the settlement negotiation process. These employees are covered by FELA (Federal Employers Liability Act). Whether you are an employee or a passenger injured in a train crash, it’s advisable to work as a competent lawyer when filing a train accident claim.