Trains are used by many people who are trying to get to work or travel in Michigan. In 2008, there were about 28 railroad companies in the state that operated more than 4,800 public highway-railroad grade crossings. Unfortunately, train accidents may result in catastrophic injuries to many people. In 2014, about 16 people around the country were killed by trains each week, which was the highest number of train-related deaths since 2007. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a train accident, you may have grounds to bring a lawsuit. The Grand Rapids and Traverse City train accident lawyers at the Neumann Law Group can help you determine an appropriate course of action. Our principal, Kelly Neumann, is an award-winning personal injury attorney with a strong track record.Establishing Liability for a Train Accident
Train accidents happen in many situations. They may involve a crash between a train and a car at a crossing, a pedestrian accident at a crossing, or an injury to a passenger on a train. When a collision of any kind happens at a railroad crossing, it is often because of insufficient warnings at the crossing, negligence by the railroad conductor, or negligence by a vehicle driver.
People hurt in motor vehicle accidents in Michigan usually need to claim benefits through their no-fault insurance. No-fault benefits will typically include medical expenses, nursing services, and wage replacement. However, if you are hurt at a railroad crossing due to conductor negligence or improper maintenance of the train or the crossing, you may be able to recover pain and suffering damages from the railroad.
The Michigan Department of Transportation has minimum standards for railroad crossings, which are set forth in the Railroad Code of 1993. Railroad companies are required to provide minimum warnings, but there are no restrictions against adding more warnings as needed at a crossing. About half of the crossings in Michigan have active warning devices like gates and flashing light signals.
Generally, there is joint responsibility between road authorities and railroads to develop a safety plan at existing and proposed highway-railroad crossings. If either the road authorities or the train company failed to use reasonable care in providing warnings or other safeguards at a crossing, they may be held liable under a theory of negligence for any accidents.
When determining whether a road authority or railroad company was negligent, a court will look at numerous factors, such as whether there was some aspect of the crossing that made it especially dangerous, whether there were enough warnings, and whether there was comparative negligence on the part of the driver or pedestrian. A driver or pedestrian's compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault, if any, under the doctrine of comparative negligence.
Sometimes, people riding a train are injured due to a derailment or the train colliding with another train. They may have grounds to sue the train company if the accident was a result of either a mistake in how the train was operated or a mechanical defect. When a mechanical defect in a component of the train is at issue, it may be appropriate to file a product liability lawsuit against the component’s manufacturer.Retain a Train Accident Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City
Passengers, drivers, and pedestrians may be seriously hurt in a train accident in Michigan. If you are going through the aftermath of a crash, our Traverse City and Grand Rapids train accident attorneys may be able to help you recover damages. The Neumann Law Group also represents injured people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or use our online form to set up a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision lawyer.