Nebraska train accidents occur for many reasons; and, unfortunately, they can injure or kill their victims. Railroad workers must face the unique risk of consistent contact with and proximity to trains. Drivers are more than likely to encounter a railroad crossing or train during a drive.
Drivers should know a little about why these accidents happen, what they look like, and what steps they may need to take afterward to return to normal life. But the first thing you can do to seize control of your situation, after seeking medical care, is to call The Robert Pahlke Law Group’s Nebraska train accident lawyers. We can empower you to seek the compensation and treatment you need to recover.
Types of Train Accidents
There’s no doubt that train accidents in Nebraska may not be as prolific as they were a little over a decade ago. In fact, the last 10 years saw—essentially—a 50 percent decline in the number of train crossing victims. The issue is that even when improvements are made, no life should be altered or taken by a train accident. It doesn’t matter whether it’s one life or fifty. Our state’s train accident frequency is improving, but drivers still need to remain alert.
One of the simplest means of categorizing train accidents involves the victim’s (or victims’) identity. Train accidents tend to be split into three primary groups: passenger, bystander, and railroad worker injuries.
The type of injuries a victim is more likely to sustain and the process for seeking compensation vary depending on that victim’s status in the railway system:
- Passenger accidents | Unfortunately, the nature of rail travel does put passengers at unique risk while traveling by train. Passenger trains travel extremely quickly—and they don’t require passengers to utilize any sort of safety restraints. Scores of train passengers each year are even injured in seemingly simple circumstances, like boarding or deboarding trains
- Bystander accidents | Bystanders face the most risk when they are at unprotected crossings. These crossings, which lack signs and other identifying features, do not notify bystanders when trains approach. While the Federal Highway Administration states that less than 25 percent of America’s railroad crossings are unmarked, these spaces still pose an immense risk
- Railroad worker accidents | Railroad workers face a serious risk of on the job injuries. While the Federal Employers’ Liability Act exists to protect railroad employees’ rights, plenty of railroad workers are injured in their work environment. Railroad workers can be injured in crashes and derailments, may be struck by equipment, and face a myriad of other risks
Train Accidents—Nature of the Crash
Train accidents can also be viewed through the lens of how a crash occurred. Not every train accident involves a crash at all—fires, explosions, jumping passengers, and a range of other occurrences all qualify as train accidents. Two additional classifications of rail accidents are:
- Collisions | Collisions include slanting, rear, and head-on crashes alongside collisions with buffer stops and track obstructions
- Derailments | Derailments occur when a train disconnects from its track or rail. Many derailments occur at junctions and curves; plenty, however, do occur on straight tracks. These are known as plain track derailments
Can I Hold a Railroad Liable for My Injuries?
For Nebraska residents to hold a railroad liable for injuries caused by an accident, their case must meet certain requirements. Railroad employees involved in train accidents must prove that the railroad violated one or more of six key duties:
- Provide employees with a reasonably safe work environment
- Monitor work environment for hazards (and remove hazards when relevant)
- Train, supervise, and assist employees in job functions
- Protect employees from dangerous and intentional acts of others
- Enforce safety rules and regulations
- Avoid unreasonable work quotas
These guidelines, set forth by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (or FELA) holds railroads responsible as employers. The responsibilities listed above mimic typical expectations and duties set forth for business owners in standard workplaces.
The Investigation Process
Train accidents trigger a chain of investigative events that victims should be prepared for. Because railroads are under federal jurisdiction, the government wants to open and close cases quickly and effectively. Railroad companies immediately dispatch investigative teams after an accident in an attempt to protect their own interests—and the word “immediately” shouldn’t be taken lightly. It could even occur before law enforcement or medical personnel are notified.
This investigation process only served to keep the railroad company safe. While they are not trying to antagonize you, specifically, they are working against your best interests due to the nature of their position. The best step to take is to retain a trustworthy, experienced, and empathetic train accident attorney. Your attorney should investigate the scene of the accident as soon as possible. This gives you even footing against the investigators.
Why Is It so Important to Hire a Nebraska Train Accident Lawyer?
A train accident lawyer will work on your case with your best interests at heart. Personal injury attorneys don’t work for an insurance or railroad company—they work for their clients. Train accident lawyers assist their victims in seeking compensation for life-altering damages. Medical bills, loss of quality of life, and a range of other negative factors can and do influence train accident victims after their experiences.
Your train accident lawyer will also help you strengthen your case to defend against railroad company investigators. Remember: the railroad company has prepared long and hard for the situation that you were thrown into. You never had that benefit. You can leverage your power and reclaim independence through partnering with a lawyer who will fight for your rights.
We offer free initial consultations. This allows victims and potential clients to share their case details without shelling out any cash. Not only can you take advantage of a free legal opinion of your case, but it will also make it much easier to determine which lawyer is the best fit for you. Scores of personal injury attorneys want to take on your case; make the determining factor in your decision center around your best interests. Contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group at (308) 633-4444 for a free consultation.
Pahlke Law Group
2425 Circle Drive #200
Scottsbluff, NE 69361