Over the last decade a number of tragic train accidents have drawn significant media coverage and raised questions about train safety. Although traveling by train is still overall considered to be safe, an accident—from a common slip and fall to a major crash—is always a possibility. Someone who has been injured in an accident involving a train may have the option of filing a lawsuit to recover compensation.
Trains are common carriers
The law categorizes passenger trains, along with public busses and airlines, as common carriers. As a general rule, common carriers owe passengers the highest duty of care. The operator of a train is required to use the utmost care and diligence to prevent passenger injuries. Courts have interpreted this standard to mean that even the slightest lapse in care could make a common carrier legally responsible for injuries that arise from the lapse.
Train operations have a long, rich history of disciplined processes and procedures designed in part to ensure the safety of passengers. Things like hand rails, properly maintained seats, and restrictions on where passengers can stand are all examples of steps train operators take to keep things safe. Operators also routinely inspect their tracks for problems that might cause a derailment or other serious incident.
When is a train operator liable?
Every incident where a train passenger is hurt can conceivably give rise to a lawsuit. The key questions a personal injury lawyer will analyze are: (1) whether the train operator has breached its duty of care toward the injured passenger, and (2) whether the operator’s breach of its duty caused the passenger’s injury. There is a wide variety of ways an operator might do this:
- Failing to clean up a wet and slippery floor that causes a passenger to fall.
- Improperly maintaining a door that shuts dangerously hard.
- Failing to fix a problem with tracks, which might include damage to the track itself, debris, inadequate signs warning passenger vehicles about the track, and so on.
Someone who has been injured on a train and is dealing with significant medical bills or lost work time should contact an attorney to learn about their legal options. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury cases. If you have suffered an accident on a train please call us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or by sending us a request through our site.