A sudden, severe accident can turn your life upside down, perhaps changing it forever. Train accidents are particularly devastating, given the mass and speed of modern trains. If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, you may be facing a lengthy recovery and possibly permanent disability—not to mention a mountain of medical bills.

If the Alaska train accident that injured you was due to someone else’s error, you may be entitled to a financial recovery to help you put your life back together again. Unfortunately, you cannot count on the insurer for the railroad or train company to give you what you need and deserve. Insurance companies remain profitable by paying out as little as possible in claims, and they retain an army of experienced attorneys to protect their interests. In short, the insurance company is not on your side. To prevail in your claim, you need someone who is.

Train accident lawyer Eric Derleth has successfully represented accident victims in Alaska for over 25 years. He stands up to the large insurers and corporations and fights for your rights.

What to Do After a Train Accident in Alaska

If you have been involved in an accident involving a train, quickly get to a place of safety. Then follow these steps:

  • Call 911 immediately following a train accident. Both law enforcement and emergency medical personnel should be present at the scene, both to care for anyone who was injured and to document the accident.
  • If you were injured, seek prompt medical care and follow up with a doctor to understand the full extent of your injuries.
  • Keep track of any expenses you have related to the accident, including medical care, damage to your vehicle, therapy for trauma, and the cost of alternate transportation.
  • Contact a train accident attorney in Anchorage or Soldotna. Avoid communicating with the insurance company, if possible, since they might try to use even an innocent statement against you. Direct the insurance company to communicate with your lawyer.

Causes of Train Accidents

Negligence on the part of the rail company or train operator often contributes to train accidents, including derailments and collisions with automobiles. Some of the many factors that may contribute to train accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Operator fatigue
  • Insufficient operator training and instruction
  • Poorly maintained tracks
  • Debris left on tracks
  • Brake failure
  • Defective signaling equipment
  • Mechanical failure

Accidents involving a train may involve multiple parties and numerous victims, making these cases particularly complex. In some cases, a class action lawsuit is appropriate, if many people have sustained injuries due to the same set of circumstances. Train accident lawyer Eric Derleth is able to file a class action lawsuit against a rail company on behalf of multiple defendants, getting each victim a fair settlement in a more efficient way.

Damages in an Alaska Train Accident Case

If you have been injured in a train accident, you may be entitled to various types of compensation. Economic damages are payments for your monetary losses that can be objectively verified, like your medical bills, expenses for household assistance, lost wages, and loss of future income. Non-economic damages are those losses it is more difficult to attach a number to, like your pain and suffering and your family’s loss of your companionship due to your injury. In Alaska, there is a cap on non-economic damages, meaning that you can only recover a certain amount of non-economic damages.

In rare cases, there may be punitive damages in an Alaska train accident case. Punitive damages, as the name suggests, are intended to punish the party responsible for an injury. They are typically available when the defendant’s behavior was so serious and egregious that they deserve to be punished financially for it. Punitive damages are not usually awarded in ordinary negligence cases. They are reserved for especially reckless or intentional conduct causing serious harm.

Statute of Limitations for Alaska Train Accidents

In Alaska, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a train accident is two years. If you wait longer than two years to file, it doesn’t matter how serious your injury is, how bad the rail company or operator’s conduct was, or how obvious their fault was. Your lawsuit will be dismissed because it was outside the statute of limitations. Because it is usually necessary for an attorney to investigate a case before filing a lawsuit, it is important that you speak to an experienced Alaska train accident attorney as soon as possible after your injury. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be able to help establish your damages, as well as establishing the liability of the party responsible for your injuries.

Work with an Experienced Alaska Injury Attorney

Alaska native Eric Derleth has successfully represented injury victims, including train accident victims, in the courts of our state for over 25 years. Eric is known as “the Trial Guy” because of his diligent investigation of the facts, his thorough preparation of every case, and his skill in communicating with juries. He understands the system that you, as an injury victim, are up against, and he is committed to protecting your rights against large, powerful corporations.

There is no risk to you in consulting a train accident lawyer; our office offers no-obligation consultations and only receives an attorney fee if your case is successful. To learn more about Alaska law regarding train accidents, and how an attorney can help you, call Eric Derleth at 907-262-9164 or contact our law office. From his office in Soldotna, Eric Derleth serves clients in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau, and throughout Alaska. Call today for a free, confidential consultation.