Trains play an important role in the lives of Boston residents, workers, and visitors. Bostonians take the T everywhere: to work, to school, and just to get around the Hub. Commuters ride MBTA lines from the suburbs. Business people and tourists ride the Acela and other Amtrak trains that make calls at South Station and North Station. And, though less common than they used to be, freight trains still roll through the Boston area delivering raw materials for local, national, and international industries.
Boston’s extensive rail traffic comes at an unfortunate cost: train accidents that cause a steady stream of serious injuries and fatalities every year. Victims of those accidents deserve compensation to help pay for their injuries and financial losses. The experienced Boston train accident lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help.
Did you suffer injuries in a Boston train accident? Contact us online or call (727) 351-6129 for a free consultation about your rights to compensation.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers: The Boston Train Accident Lawyers You Need
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, we provide small-firm service tailored to our clients’ unique needs, while getting the kind of results you might expect only from a big law firm. Our experienced lawyers have secured millions for our injured clients through settlements, judgments, and jury verdicts. Though we cannot guarantee the results of a Boston train accident injury claim, we can promise to work tirelessly in our pursuit of maximum compensation for our clients injured in Boston-area train accidents.
Types of Train Accidents
The average Boston resident spends around 46 minutes per day commuting on public transportation. Trains offer one of the fastest and most efficient ways to reach many destinations in the greater Boston area.
Unfortunately, that means many Bostonians routinely face a risk of suffering serious and fatal injuries in train accidents. Massachusetts has seen rising train accident injuries in recent years, possibly because the T reportedly suffers more breakdowns than any other train line in the nation. Decreased maintenance, old equipment, and more people using Boston rail transport than ever have all increased the risk of accidents for train passengers and others around rail lines alike.
How do these accidents occur? Here are some common ways.
A train derailment happens when a train leaves its tracks, often tipping over or crashing into trackside structures in the process. Most of the time, train derailments occur due to poor maintenance on the lines: a specific section of track does not receive the attention it needs and starts to break down, eventually causing a train to leave the rails when passing over that section. Train derailment can also occur due to excessive or reckless train speeds, especially in highly populated areas or at sharp curves in the tracks. Poorly loaded or balanced train cars can also lead to train derailments.
No matter the cause, a train derailment can result in catastrophic injuries to passengers, rail employees, and bystanders, as well as causing extensive property damage. Derailments can also trigger deadly secondary accidents, such as explosions or releases of toxic chemicals or materials carried by the train cars that derail.
Trains need not leave the tracks to cause serious harm. A deadly accident involving a train can involve a collision with:
- A motor vehicle at a railroad crossing, often the result of a motorist’s carelessness or inattention, but also sometimes caused by malfunctioning safety equipment;
- A pedestrian crossing, walking along or standing near railroad tracks, particularly common in populated areas near above-ground tracks and at train or T stations;
- Another train, which can happen when conductors and other rail employees mistakenly direct trains onto tracks already occupied by other trains; and
- Rail equipment and other objects that get left on or fall onto tracks.
The impact of a collision with a train tends to cause severe and fatal injuries to anyone the train hits. A collision may also cause a secondary accident, such as a derailment, that results in further injuries and property damage.
Accidents on Trains
Not only can you face severe injuries from a train collision or derailment, you may suffer serious injuries while on a train itself. Trains require regular maintenance to make them safe for passengers. Loose handholds, slippery flooring, broken seats, and unstable overhead racks can lead to serious passenger injuries. Boston train riders can also suffer injuries in assaults and violent crimes that occur in train cars.
Railyard and Railroad Work Accidents
Railroad workers face hazards on the job when working on or around trains and train-related infrastructure. Errors while coupling or decoupling trains, fixing track, maintaining signals, or performing any of the countless other tasks that rail workers tackle every day can put workers in danger, threatening their lives and livelihoods.
These are just some examples of how train accidents may occur in Boston. No matter what kind of accident involving a train harmed you or a loved one, the team at Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help.
Common Train Accident Injuries
Victims of Boston-area train accidents risk suffering a wide range of serious, life-altering injuries. The Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA team possesses the knowledge and experience to seek compensation for virtually any of them.
Common train accident-related injuries for which we help our clients obtain compensation include:
- Wrongful death. Train accidents routinely result in fatalities. Our team represents the families of those who tragically perished in train accidents seeking compensation for their loss.
- Crush injuries and amputation. The violence of a train accident can crush the passenger compartment of the train and any vehicles involved, pinning the bodies of passengers and causing catastrophic damage to their limbs and appendages. Crush injuries also occur when railroad workers get caught under or between heavy train equipment. Victims of crush injuries face a lifetime of disability and expense due to the loss of their limb or its function.
- Spinal cord injuries. The same violent forces that inflict crush injuries can also result in damage to a Boston train accident victim’s spinal cord, the bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and body. A spinal cord injury often results in permanent paralysis, forcing victims and their families to confront an entirely new way of living, and the expenses that come with it.
- Traumatic brain injuries. A sharp blow to the head or body can momentarily shift, tear, or deform the brain within the skull, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Victims of TBIs frequently suffer from severe physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments. In severe cases, victims lose consciousness permanently. Healing from a traumatic brain injury can take years, disrupting a victim’s life, schooling, work, and relationships.
- Other traumatic injuries. Because of their violence, train accidents in Boston also commonly inflict injuries that, while potentially less lethal or life-altering than the ones above, nevertheless cause severe disruption, pain, and expense in a victim’s life. Broken bones, lacerations, burns, orthopedic injuries, back and neck injuries, and more, can leave victims to contend with huge medical bills, chronic pain, and other challenges that make their lives difficult.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we work closely with our clients to assess the full scope of the harm they have suffered. By communicating with their medical team, and listening to their descriptions of the difficulties they face, we develop a clear picture of the true cost of a train accident injury. This helps to ensure that when we take action on our clients’ behalf, we will seek the maximum compensation available to them under Massachusetts law.
Claiming Compensation for Boston Train Accident Injuries
Your Boston train accident may have left you with serious injuries, immense medical expenses, and an inability to return to work, school, or your normal life. For many people, those challenges can prove catastrophic, both personally and financially.
As a Boston train accident victim, however, you may have the option to take legal action seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.
With the help of experienced train accident injury lawyers like the team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, a lawsuit against the party or parties at fault for causing your injuries may secure payment for:
- Your medical expenses related to treating your train accident injury, including costs of hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and medication;
- Wages you lost when you missed work because of your train accident injury;
- The future income you probably will not earn, because your train accident injury has made it difficult or impossible to return to work;
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to living with your train accident injury and/or that you would have had were it not for the train accident;
- Your physical pain, emotional suffering, and other life challenges resulting from the train accident and your injury, including harm done to your personal relationships, and diminishment of your enjoyment of life.
In some cases, a train accident lawsuit in Boston can also seek an award of punitive damages, which have the purpose of punishing an at-fault party’s conduct that a court deems particularly extreme or outrageous, and which led to a train accident.
If a train accident causes a tragic loss of life, then the families of those who died may seek similar categories of compensation for their loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. Of course, money cannot replace the life of a loved one, but it can provide essential financial support for families during an extremely difficult and traumatic time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Boston Train Accident Cases
No matter how your Boston train accident injuries happened, or what types of injuries you suffered, you probably have lots of questions about how you can obtain compensation. We answer some common questions about Boston train accident cases below. Have more detailed questions? Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers today for your free consultation.
I suffered train accident injuries while working for the railroad. Does that mean I have a workers’ compensation claim?
No, it doesn’t.
Unlike most workers in Boston, railroad workers are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, and do not file workers’ comp claims when they get hurt or sick on the job.
Instead, a federal law called the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) gives railroad workers in Boston the right to sue their employer for compensation when they suffer a work-related injury or illness because of their employer’s or a co-worker’s negligence (even if their own negligence also played a role in what happened).
One of the chief benefits of FELA is that it authorizes workers to sue their employer for the general categories of compensation listed above, including damages for their pain and suffering. Ordinary workers’ compensation usually does not pay for pain and suffering.
Of course, obtaining those damages requires filing a lawsuit, instead of merely submitting a workers’ compensation claim to an insurance company like most non-railroad workers. For that reason, Boston railroad workers who get hurt in a train accident need the help of a skilled train accident attorney to get the payments they need and deserve.
The railroad’s insurance company offered me money as a settlement. What should I do?
Contact an experienced train accident lawyer immediately. Do not agree to anything. Do not sign anything.
If the railroad’s insurance company has offered you money, then that means the railroad thinks it has a legal liability to you for damages. A direct settlement offer like the one you received rarely pays you the amount of money you have a legal right to receive. Instead, the insurance company hopes that you will not realize the offer is inadequate, and that you will take it before you receive legal advice about your rights.
Do not make the mistake of agreeing to a settlement that falls short of what you deserve. Agreeing to any settlement requires you to give up your valuable rights to sue for damages. Before you take that step, consult with an experienced train accident lawyer about how much money you should get. In many cases, a skilled lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to secure the higher settlement amount you deserve.
Can I file a claim for compensation if I suffered injuries in a train accident at a place other than a designated railroad crossing?
Yes, it’s possible, but you should speak with a skilled Boston train accident lawyer right away.
Ideally, you should always try to cross tracks at a designated crossing, whether you do so on foot, on a bicycle, or in a vehicle. However, sometimes that just isn’t possible, because the railroad simply does not have a place to cross. Other times the crossing itself is dangerous and it’s safer to cross at an unmarked crossing spot.
Railroad companies and public transportation authorities have an obligation to maintain railroad tracks and related infrastructure in a safe condition for the public. Crossing tracks outside of a designated crossing is not always the best option, but if it was safer than an alternative, then you may have a claim for damages.
Contact a skilled train accident lawyer in Boston today to learn more.
How long do I have to file a train accident claim?
It depends on the facts of your train accident and on who you might file a claim against.
Laws called statutes of limitations set time limits on taking legal action for damages after train accidents. Every state sets a statute of limitations for train accident injury cases. Separately, federal law sets its own deadline for train accident claims arising under federal statutes and regulations. Statutes of limitations can also vary based on who you sue.
For example, in train accident cases against private entities in Massachusetts, you typically have up to three years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit for compensation. By coincidence, for a claim against your privately-owned railroad employer under FELA, which is a federal (not state) statute, then you also typically have three years to sue for damages. However, if your claim is against a government agency or a government-run railroad company, such as Amtrak or the MBTA, then you may have far less time—a matter of just a few months in many cases.
That is why, as a rule of thumb, the team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA recommends speaking with an experienced train accident lawyer as soon as possible after any train accident injures you. Talking to a lawyer right away helps to protect your rights.
It also helps your case by giving your attorney the greatest opportunity to collect evidence related to your train accident and injuries. It also allows your attorney to advocate on your behalf in connection with official investigations of the train accident, such as those conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Waiting to speak with an attorney about your Boston train accident injuries, in other words, could seriously jeopardize your rights. You could lose your right to sue altogether if you want too long.
I’ve heard the railroad company will go bankrupt because of the accident that injured me. What should I do?
Contact a train accident lawyer right away. You may still file a compensation claim, even if the railroad company seeks bankruptcy protection. However, you may need to act quickly to preserve your rights.
Railroad companies have been known to file for bankruptcy when an accident involving one of their trains causes mass casualties or widespread property damage (or both). Bankruptcy serves to protect a company from its creditors by providing an orderly process for the company’s debts to be compromised, canceled, or restructured. Those debts can include the claims for damages by train accident victims.
The fact that a railroad company has filed for bankruptcy does not mean that you will never get paid. To start, railroad companies frequently carry large insurance policies to protect them against liability for accidents, which may cover you even if the company goes belly-up. Additionally, bankruptcy courts may also require railroad companies to set aside money to pay victims the companies’ wrongful conduct. So, all is not lost.
Still, you may need to act quickly to protect your rights to receive money from a railroad company’s insurance policy or through the bankruptcy process. A skilled train accident lawyer can take the necessary actions on your behalf to keep you in the strongest position to seek the compensation you deserve.
An investigator wants to talk to me about the Boston train accident that left me injured. Should I agree?
Maybe. It might depend on who the investigator works for. As a general rule, it always helps to have an experienced train accident lawyer by your side in any conversation with an investigator, to protect your rights to compensation.
Train accidents, particularly ones with multiple victims, tend to spawn a variety of investigations.
- Official investigations, like those conducted by the NTSB or law enforcement, may explore how a train accident happened to improve train safety or to determine if the railroad violated any laws or regulations.
- Insurance investigations dig into the causes of an accident to help them decide whether and to whom to pay insurance claims.
- Independent investigations, like those conducted by lawyers for parties affected by the train accident, could have a variety of purposes, including figuring out who might owe damages to victims, or whether evidence exists that might allow them to pin blame on the accident on someone else.
Talking with an investigator, in other words, might help your case. But, it also might put your rights at risk. A skilled train accident lawyer can help you decide whether and when talking to an investigator serves your interests, and how to approach a conversation in a manner that protects your rights.
I got a call from a news reporter wanting to hear about the train accident. Is it okay for me to talk to them?
First, you cannot always know what motivates a reporter to want to speak to you. Maybe they have a neutral story in mind. Maybe they don’t. Either way, once you have given an interview, you will likely have no control over how the press portrays you. Lots of ordinary people have given interviews to the media thinking a story will appear one way, only to have it turn out completely differently and, often, unpleasantly.
Second, remember that no matter how a story in the news makes you look, defense lawyers and insurance companies will track down anything written about you, and any video of an interview with you. Then, they will do their best to turn anything you say against you, to limit their own client’s legal liability to you for damages.
As a general rule, at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we encourage anyone who has suffered an injury in a train accident (or any other kind of accident, for that matter), to avoid talking to the media. We also strongly urge our clients to avoid posting on social media as much as possible.
As lawyers, our job is to paint the most favorable picture possible of our clients and what happened to them. We can do our best work when we start with a blank canvas, rather than having to deal with how the media has portrayed our client.
Will I have to testify in court if I sue for my train accident injuries?
Probably not, but it’s possible.
Thanks to courtroom dramas on TV, we tend to think of lawsuits as always ending in a trial featuring show-stopping testimony and impassioned closing arguments. In reality, however, train accident cases and other accident-related cases rarely end up in front of a judge and jury. The vast majority of them settle out-of-court before a trial gets underway, often long before.
Odds are that your train accident case will settle, too. You may have to give sworn testimony in a conference-room interview with a defense lawyer, called a deposition, but, as for most people in your position, that’s as close to court testimony as you will probably get.
Still, you can’t be 100 percent sure. It’s very difficult to predict which cases will be the ones that defy the odds and go the distance to a trial in a Boston courtroom. That’s why it is always important to select an attorney to represent you who has a track record of success not just settling cases, but also winning them at trial.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, for example, has notched wins in multiple trials. Our attorneys always prepare their cases as if they will end in a courtroom, and welcome the opportunity to present evidence to a Boston judge and jury if that’s what it takes to secure fair compensation for a train accident victim.
How long will it take to get paid?
We can’t say without knowing much more about your case. Even then, we can only give an educated guess which still might be wrong.
As we mentioned above, the law sets a time limit called the statute of limitations on starting a lawsuit. Missing that deadline can mean losing your rights.
Unfortunately, the law does not generally set a fixed time limit on when a lawsuit must end, once you have started it. Some go quickly. Some don’t. Sometimes you don’t even have to file a lawsuit at all to convince an insurance company to settle with you. Sometimes you have to fight a case all the way through a trial and an appeal before you get the money you deserve.
For the most part, the factors affecting the timeline for a train accident injury lawsuit are out of your control.
They can include, for example:
- The number of parties who have legal or financial interests in the outcome of your claim;
- The duration of any official investigation into the train accident; and
- How long it takes for your doctor to give a confident prognosis for your physical recovery and future financial needs.
You do, however, control one critically important element of the duration of your case: when you speak with a skilled train accident lawyer for the first time. The sooner you take that step, the sooner the rest of the process of seeking damages for your train accident injuries can play out.
How much does it cost to hire a train accident lawyer?
Nothing, unless your train accident lawyer gets results for you.
To start, train accident lawyers like the team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Boston, offer free consultations for potential clients. In a consultation, the lawyer or legal professional can learn about the train accident and the injuries an individual suffered, and can give a first impression of whether the individual has a case. The consultation is free of charge even if the injured individual decides not to hire the law firm.
If a personal injury lawyer and accident victim decide to work together, then the lawyer will virtually always take the case on contingency. That’s when a law firm works in exchange for a portion of whatever money it secures on a client’s behalf. The client pays no money upfront, and no money by the hour, and the lawyer only gets paid if the client gets paid.
Experienced train accident lawyers know that a Boston train accident victim will often face severe financial difficulties. They work on contingency to make their services affordable to anyone who needs them.
Boston Train Accident Lawyers for You
Did you suffer injuries in a Boston train crash? If so, then you deserve to have an experienced law firm by your side, fighting to make sure you receive every dollar of compensation you deserve. Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers today online or call us at (727) 351-6129 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable legal professional.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
76 Canal Street, Suite 302
Boston, MA 02114