Any kind of train or light rail accident can cause severe damage; not only physical injuries to the victims involved, but property damage as well. Anyone involved with traffic or light rail accidents should be mindful of some of the basics of personal injury law and how to determine if another party’s negligence caused or contributed to the incident.
Springfield and the state of Missouri follow comparative negligence laws, meaning that a victim’s total amount of compensation may be reduced depending on their level of fault in causing the incident. It is imperative that you do not say anything that may be deemed as an admission of fault. Traffic collisions may shake you up, but saying things like “I couldn’t stop fast enough,” or “I wasn’t paying attention” may seem like harmless off-the-cuff remarks, but they will probably come back to bite you if you take a case to trial.
Proving Fault in Springfield, MO Train Accidents
As with any personal injury case, the victim must establish that the defendant was negligent in some manner that contributed to the incident and resulted in their injuries. Light rail accidents may involve product liability claims for defective equipment or negligence charges against the light rail or train driver or maintenance technicians that failed to adequately repair or install light rail and train lines or cars.
In a traffic collision involving motor vehicles, the victim may need to rely on eyewitness testimonies, admission of fault from the offending party, or recorded traffic surveillance in order to prove they had minimal or no fault in the accident, and that the defendant was negligent. The basic facts that must be proven to establish negligence are the following:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely and at no risk to public safety. This includes proper vehicle care and maintenance, following traffic signals and adhering to speed limits, proper signaling, and safe maneuvering of the vehicle.
- The defendant breached this duty in some way. This may include speeding, changing lanes quickly without signaling, failing to properly signal before making a turn, or driving through a red light or stop sign.
- The victim’s injuries were the result of the defendant’s breach of duty. The state of Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations for victims to sue for personal injuries or property damage, so an accident that results in an acquired or non-immediate injury may also entitle the victim to sue for damages.
Claiming Damages in Bolivar, MO
Traffic collisions also damage property. Your car insurance company may not pay the full upper limit of your coverage after an accident to cover the cost of repairs or a new car. Pursuing a civil action against the offending party in your accident will help to cover your expenses and pain and suffering, as well as pay for what insurance companies may not be willing or able to cover when it comes to your vehicle or other damaged property.
If the defendant in your light rail or train accident case was engaged in any illegal activities at the time of the accident, such as operating their vehicle under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol, you may be awarded punitive damages, as well.
In the case of light rail accidents, you may need to file a defective product claim against the manufacturer of the light rail machinery responsible for the crash or against the operator for unsafe driving. You may even be able to sue the transportation authority if there were hazardous conditions on the light rail platform that resulted in a fall from the platform, or injuries caused by faulty turnstiles, gates, stairwells, or unsafe conditions on the premises.
Hiring a Springfield Light Rail Accident Attorney
No matter what type of traffic collision caused your injuries, you shouldn’t have to bear the cost alone if another party was responsible. At the law offices of Douglas, Haun & Heidemann, our lawyers believe that any negligent parties should be held accountable for their unsafe actions and the damage they cause.
Anyone who has endured a light rail or train accident in the Springfield area or the state of Missouri needs to know their rights and have the best legal representation to fight on their behalf. Reach out to our team to start reviewing your case, or let us know if you have any questions about light rail and train accident laws.