Suing for Amputated Limbs After a Train Accident
An impact from a train can be tremendously devastating, leaving victims with traumatic, lifelong injuries. In California, various individuals have suffered perhaps one of the worst injuries imaginable after a train accident — an amputation. Amputees struggle to continue with their lives after train accidents, and they may lose the ability to earn an income. In addition, they may have to receive medical treatment for the rest of their lives as they attempt to rehabilitate themselves. Finally, amputations can lead to serious mental health issues, and the accident itself can be highly traumatizing. Over the last few years, there have been numerous amputations caused by train accidents in California.
California Man Sues Amtrak for $32 Million After Losing Legs in Train Accident
On October 15th, it was reported that a man from Northern California filed a lawsuit against Amtrak for an accident that resulted in the amputation of both of his legs. The incident took place all the way back in December 2016. Perhaps the strangest thing about this incident is that the victim has no idea how he ended up lying on the railroad tracks. The last thing he recalls is waiting for a bus near Yuba City. He states that from that point, his memory is blank – until the moment when he woke up on the train tracks with no legs.
Surveillance footage captured the moment before the victim was struck by the train. He seems to have lied down with his legs across the train tracks for unknown reasons. The individual also has a history of drug and alcohol abuse – although he had been successfully fighting his addiction for months prior to the accident. According to his lawyer, the victim was picked up by police at about 1:10 AM, and they deposited him at a hospital instead of taking him to jail. According to his lawyer, the victim was then improperly discharged by the hospital while he was still intoxicated.
During the trial, the defense attorney repeatedly asked the victim if he knew he was trespassing. He also repeatedly asked the victim if he had relapsed into drug use on the night of his accident. Amtrak’s defense attorney was asking these questions for very specific reasons. If the victim was indeed trespassing at the time of his accident, Amtrak cannot be expected to protect him in any way. This is one of the most well-known rules in personal injury law, although there are a few exceptions. In order to receive a settlement even though he was trespassing at the time, the plaintiff might need to show that Amtrak was aware of similar trespassing incidents in the past within the same area. Drug use may also make recovering a settlement difficult, as this represents another crime and a possible sign of negligence.
Other Recent Train Amputations in California
Although the aforementioned story is shocking, it is far from unique. Back in 2006, it was reported that a psychology student had lost his right foot after being hit by a Union Pacific Railroad train at about 1:15 AM in November. The conductor stated that he saw the pedestrian walking along the tracks and repeatedly sounded the train’s horn to get the individual away from danger. However, the student apparently did not react and was subsequently struck by the train.
Both police and train representatives could not understand why the victim hadn’t moved, as the train’s horn is extremely loud. Police also implied that the incident might have been alcohol-related, as the area is known for plenty of raucous individuals on Friday and Saturday nights. Unfortunately, the victim’s foot needed to be amputated six inches above the ankle. Another surgery was quickly scheduled to amputate the leg even more. It is unknown whether this particular incident led to a lawsuit.
In September 2010, it was reported that a man’s arm had been amputated in order to free him from a train wreck in Southern California. The individual was working on board a locomotive that rear-ended a slow-moving freighter near Los Angeles. Two people aboard the train were hospitalized in critical condition. The crash occurred at such a high speed that the locomotive ended up on top of the freighter. In fact, the crash caused such a mangled wreck that a surgical team had to be called in to free the victim by amputating his arm.
Fortunately, the individual survived – but his life was irrevocably changed as a result. It is not clear why this particular accident occurred, or whether it was due to some kind of error or miscommunication between the various train companies involved. It is unknown what became of the amputee, but regardless of why the accident occurred, the victim would have had the opportunity to file a workers’ compensation claim. This would have provided him and his family with plenty of compensation. This type of compensation was probably much-needed, especially if the victim was incapable of working after his injuries.
Does Amputation Constitute Disfigurement?
Amputation almost always constitutes disfigurement, which means victims can receive compensation for both the physical and mental health consequences of this injury. Disfigurements and amputations typically result in much higher settlements, as victims must be compensated for their inability to work and the psychological impact of such a traumatic injury.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Train Accident Attorney in California?
Train accidents might be life-changing – but that does not mean you need to simply sit back and accept your consequences without taking legal action. Get in touch with Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C., and you can hold negligent parties accountable for the damages you have been forced to suffer. With our help, you can determine exactly who was to blame for your train accident. We can also guide you toward a fair settlement for your damages, which may include emotional distress, disfigurement, lost income, and medical expenses. The statute of limitations can prevent you from suing if you wait too long, so get in touch today and get started with an effective action plan.