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Seattle Train Accident Attorneys

Recover Damages for a Seattle Train Accident Under FELA

Train accidents often result in serious damages that devastate the lives of those involved. If you have been the victim of a train accident, chances are you are facing not only costly medical bills but also temporary or long-term disability and mental trauma. However, an experienced Washington personal injury lawyer can help you heal from your injuries, regain financial stability, and get the pieces of your life back together.

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Located in Renton, the law office of Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has provided high-quality legal services to injured clients throughout the state of Washington for many years. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to take on even the most difficult cases. Whether the party liable for your damages is an individual or a large company, please let us fight for your right to full and fair compensation. Call us today at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation.

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Providing Representation to Victims of Collisions and Derailment

To maximize your recovery, we will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your injuries to identify any safety violations, reckless behaviors, and other acts of negligence that led to the incident. The common causes of train collisions and derailments include:

  • Inadequate signage or gates
  • Train conductor's failure to sound warning horns or use lights when approaching crossings
  • Objects protruding from the train
  • Crossings obstructed by objects
  • Badly constructed tracks
  • Objects on tracks
  • Defective equipment
  • Excessive cargo

train tracksDo not give a statement to the train company, sign any documents, mention your accident on any social media site, or even talk about it with your friends or family without speaking to a Seattle injury lawyer first.

The train company will take advantage of any mistakes you make to discredit your claim and avoid paying you compensation. If you do not want to be left with your medical bills and other damages, consult with a trusted attorney as soon as possible.

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Protecting the Rights of Washington Railway Employees

Although railroad employees are not protected by workers' compensation laws, the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) grants them the right to sue for injuries caused by an employer's negligence. Under FELA, injured employees may recover for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and even pain and suffering. Compensation is awarded based on the legal principle of comparative fault, which dictates that a claimant's recovery is to be reduced by his or her percentage of fault, if any.

To prove a claim under FELA, the claimant must establish the following:

  • The injuries occurred as a result of working within the scope of employment with the train company.
  • The purpose of the claimant's employment was to further the business interests of the company.
  • The injury resulted from the negligence of the company.

For a comprehensive explanation of the complex laws that apply to railroad accidents, speak with an attorney who is familiar with such cases. Contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., as soon as possible to receive the aggressive representation you need when going up against a federal railroad company.

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Causes of Railroad Crossing Collisions

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there have been over 1, 292 train-crossing accidents throughout the United States. The primary causes of such incidents are human error, track defects, and equipment failure. Much like the trucking industry, railroad companies hire private investigators to quickly assess train accidents and ensure that they are not held accountable for the devastating and expensive aftermath. Train companies will even go so far as to blame the victim.

Evidence of railroad company negligence includes:

  • Malfunctioning crossing gates, lights, and alarms
  • Operational failure, such as braking improperly, speeding, and distracted driving
  • Poor track maintenance
  • Driver fatigue due to long work hours
  • Inadequate crew training

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Liability for Train Accidents

Who is responsible when a train derails? That depends on the cause of the accident. Often, multiple factors will contribute to an accident. In Washington, you can pursue compensation from anyone who acted in a negligent manner, which led directly to you or a loved one incurring damages. Liable parties can include:

  • Train Engineer: Engineers have a duty to use appropriate caution when operating a train. Accidents happen when engineers speed, ignore safety regulations, or operate the train while fatigued, inebriated, or distracted.
  • Railroad Employees: Communication between the staff driving the train and railroad management employees is essential to a safe trip. Some train accidents happen when railroad employees fail to communicate with one another because they get distracted, are fatigued, or are inexperienced.
  • Railroad and Train Companies: Rail companies (including Amtrak) have an obligation to ensure the safety of passengers during their trip. Companies must hire and train employees to do their jobs in a safe manner. They also must ensure that all equipment is properly inspected and maintained. Train companies may also be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the track as well. If a company fails to fulfill its duties and that leads directly to an accident, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against the company.
  • Negligent Third Parties: Most train accidents involve a negligent third party in some way. Commonly, a negligent driver will have his car stopped on the tracks and will be struck by an oncoming train. If a car is on the tracks, there is little an engineer can do to avoid an accident, as it takes passenger trains up to a mile to stop once the brakes are applied.

You are not limited to filing a lawsuit against a train company or train conductor. You can also seek compensation from a negligent third party, like a pedestrian or a driver, if they contribute to an accident that causes you or a loved one harm.

Let Us Handle Your Difficult Legal Matters for You

Taking on a legal claim may be the last thing on your mind if you're dealing with devastating injuries. However, the future will be made substantially easier if you receive the financial assistance you need to cover your damages. To get started on the road to recovery, contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (425) 228-3860 or (888) 228-3860 today.

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