Especially in the past year, New York has been no stranger to train accidents which cause injuries to hundreds of people. Although each crash has a different cause, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: these accidents could have been prevented.
Two adult sons also believed that the train accident which claimed their parent’s lives also could have been prevented and chose to file a lawsuit stating just that.
Fatal Derailment Caused By Buckled Track
The two victims named in this complaint were the 69-year-old father and 70-year-old mother of the plaintiffs. At the time of the accident, they were traveling on a bridge in their car, in lanes that rested a floor below train tracks.
Little did they know that above them was a “sun kink” which is a malformation or buckle in the track caused by extreme heat. While they continued on their way, a train passed on the tracks above them and hit the buckle. It caused the train to derail and the bridge to collapse on top of them.
Both of them sustained fatal injuries and it wasn’t until two days later while the rubble was being cleared that their bodies were found.
A Mourning Family Seeks Justice
Their sons decided to file a lawsuit on behalf of the victims against the railroad company and several of its employees, including a track inspector and signal maintainer. They alleged that the defendants were completely aware of the sun kink and instead of taking appropriate action, like removing traffic from that specific track or scheduling a repair, they ignored the issue.
They provided evidence that earlier in the day the signal maintainer had noticed an issue on the track and had requested that the track inspector look into it.
The plaintiffs requested compensation for their parent’s lost income, the loss of their companionship and guidance, and for the conscious pain and suffering that doctors believed their mother had experienced before her death.
The defendants denied that a sun kink ever existed and instead blamed the derailment on excess metal that had been welded into the track and had been present for an extended period of time. They did not, however, provide evidence that they had attempted to repair this other hazard.
The case never went to trial. Instead, the parties settled out of court for $8.5 million.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Whenever the negligent acts of one party result in the untimely death of another, the surviving loved ones or estate of the deceased party has the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Parties who are eligible to file typically include the surviving children, spouse, or parents.
These complaints can provide the plaintiffs with compensation for:
- any medical treatments the deceased required before they passed from their injuries
- loss of companionship
- loss of inheritance
- loss of future earnings
- funeral and burial expenses
The process of filing isn’t simple, however, and the best way to help find the justice that is needed and deserved for the deceased is to work with an experienced attorney.
How Long Does It Take?
Every case is different but even lawsuits that reach the quickest conclusion take at least a few months. It takes time to file the correct paperwork, contact witnesses, collect evidence, find experts to testify on the plaintiff’s behalf, and then wait for a trial date.
It’s not uncommon for the defendant to offer a settlement agreement while waiting for trial. There are benefits to this – it saves all parties additional time and money and it allows the plaintiff to know exactly how much they will be obtaining. An attorney can, in most cases, negotiate a higher settlement than what is initially offered.
Plaintiffs do not have to accept the offer and in those instances, the case will go to trial.
Do All Plaintiffs Obtain Millions?
No. Again, all complaints are different and the losses sustained in each case are different. Damages that are awarded to a plaintiff can range from thousands to millions. Once an attorney has reviewed a case, they can provide their client with an estimate of what their case may be worth.