Florida has had a startling number of train wrecks in the last decade –
more per mile of railroad than 42 of the states in the Union. If you become
– or have been – involved in any of them, you need a train
accident attorney. Florida law isn't terribly forgiving on people
who wait around, though, so if your accident happened in the past, it
is best if you get in touch with that lawyer right away.
When a train wreck occurs, there are only two root causes: either some
human did something wrong (negligence), or some piece of equipment malfunctioned
(liability). In general, the same entity – the transportation company
– is responsible for both the equipment maintenance and the skills
and training of the people using the equipment. That means that unless
the victims were negligent (you were standing on the train tracks) or
the victims' equipment malfunctioned (your car called on the train
tracks), the transportation company is the responsible party.
You might think this makes an easy job for a train accident attorney, but
Florida law isn't quite that simple. Florida allows for 'split
blame', in which it can be determined by the courts that (for example)
72% of the blame lays with the train company, but 25% lays with the victim
himself and another 3% lies with the company that made the car the victim
was in when he was hit. Because there are so many variables that go into
apportioning blame, the second person you should call after any train
accident is a train accident lawyer. Florida law makes calling your insurance
agency first a smart play, but you should call your lawyer even before
you call your family.
There are also quite a few different reasons that you might be owed damages
by the transportation company (assuming that, as in most cases, the transportation
company receives the majority of the blame.) Your medical bills and damage
to your property are the most obvious sources, but you can also get compensation
for pain, suffering, wrongful death, loss of consortium, and several other
minor issues that a train wreck can cause. Learning what exactly you may
be owed is the reason why you call your lawyer second after any train wreck.