The Law Offices of Flint & Crawford
Train Accident: Preserving Evidence
Train accidents are a very specific type of event and are not handled in the same manner as most personal injury cases under most circumstances. Federal laws that are very specific about the railroad industry often apply to these types of accidents and special investigations must be conducted by the railroad authority when an event occurs. The investigation is conducted to discover the cause of the event and to preserve evidence.
A special investigation is conducted for any type of accident involving a railroad. This includes derailments, vehicular or pedestrian interactions, train malfunctions, and worker compensation claims.
Injured Parties Must Also Preserve Evidence
Although it would seem that an investigation conducted by a professional team would secure evidence about the train accident, injured parties must remember that the investigation is being conducted by the railroad itself. Sadly, some key evidence points are often overlooked to allow the railroad to “look better” in the event of a court case. This is why it is imperative for injured parties to also secure evidence.
It is very understandable that anyone involved in a train accident would not be thinking about evidence or court cases. They are thinking about their injuries and their safety. However, for their own protection, injury victims should consider securing evidence relating to the accident. With the fact that you are injured in mind, it is advisable that you:
- Write everything down that you remember just prior to the event and during the accident if possible. If you cannot write due to the injury, ask a family member to write it down for you or make a recording. This is for your own personal use at this timer and should not be given to the railroad or anyone representing the railroad such as an insurer.
- Have a family member take pictures of the accident scene if possible. Take pictures of the surrounding area. Take pictures of the road and the tracks. Anything and everything that may seem relevant to your accident should be photographed. If you were involved in a vehicle related accident, have pictures taken of your vehicle as well.
Even if you cannot do these things immediately, try to accomplish this as soon as possible. Every piece of evidence that you can use for your case is beneficial.
Protecting Your Rights As An Injury Victim
When a person is injured in any type of accident there life instantly changes. Injuries suffered can lead to extensive medical care, long recovery periods, or the need for care for the rest of their lives. Financial losses also burden those who have been injured and all of the stress from the accident and financial problems can lead to emotional strain.
With so much going on it is hard to believe that an injury victim would also have to protect their rights. But they do. In fact, when a person has been injured in any type of accident, especially something as serious as a train event, the need to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by the insurance company covering the accident is exceptionally important.
Insurance companies have only one best interest – their own. Regardless of how interested they seem to be in your injuries or recovery or how compassionate the adjustor seems when speaking with you, they are only considered with their bottom line. Accidents mean they are responsible for covering expenses and losses, and they are going to try to keep those costs low.
How To Protect Yourself When You Are Injured
- When you have been involved in any type of accident, a top attorney in Texarkana TX recommends the following:
- Always Seek Immediate Medical Attention. If you are lucky enough that your injuries seem minor, you should still go to the hospital immediately after an accident to be evaluated. Many times the adrenalin in your system is so high from the accident that your body has not registered the extent of your injuries while you are still at the scene of the accident. Many concussions, fractures, and internal bleeding events become life threatening because treatment was delayed due to the injured party thinking they were just achy or had a headache because of the accident. Early diagnosis can be a life saver.
- Hire Legal Representation. While it may seem a little weird to start thinking about legal representation right after an accident, it is almost necessary. Insurance companies are pushing injury victims so hard to sign off on an event that they will try anything to close the case. Having a qualified lawyer in Texarkana TX legally representing your interests will protect your rights.
- Avoid Statements To Insurance Company. Insurance companies will try to get a written or oral statement as soon as possible from you after the accident. In some cases adjustors are showing up at the ER to get a statement. Provide your basic information, name address, and phone number, but decline from giving a lot of detailed information until you speak to your attorney. You have this right, regardless of what they may imply.
- Follow Medical Advice and Care. One of the first things that an insurance company will monitor after your accident is your medical care and treatment. If you start missing appointments or do not follow medical advice the insurer will believe that you no longer need medical care. If you really feel as if your care provider is not treating your condition in your best interest speak to your attorney. Your lawyer can secure a second opinion for you to ensure that you are receiving the right medical care.
- Avoid Social Media. At a time when social media is very much a part of everyone’s life, this may seem like a very crazy suggestion. However, if you are going to use social media at all after an accident it is very important to follow some simple rules:
- Never post anything in detail about your accident. A simple ”I was involved in an accident should be your only post.
- Never go into details about your injury. Insurers are going to watch your social media and look for things to use against your case.
- Do not post any pictures, new or old of yourself while your case is active. A picture of you smiling will allow the insurance company to believe that you are fine and happy and that your injury has caused you no harm or inconvenience.
- Do not share information about traveling, going to special events, or enjoying any form of entertainment outside of your home. While you know that you were still in pain and had to go to a lot of trouble to go to a wedding, the insurance company sees it as “living normally” and will use it against your case.
- Never share information that you have spoken with your attorney. Interaction with your attorney is for your benefit only.
Following these simple steps to protect your rights and making sure that you secure as much evidence of the accident as possible, will allow you and your attorney to build a solid case against the person or company that caused the accident and your injuries.