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Georgia Teen Gets Hit by Train, Loses Legs

Earlier this week tragedy struck in Lilburn, Georgia when a 17-year-old boy was hit by a CSX train and lost his legs from the knees down, reports Various news outlets have reported that it is unclear whether the teen was walking on the tracks or laying down across them at the time of the crash. Believe it or not, this seemingly inconsequential detail will likely prove to be of huge importance if the teen and his family decide to file a personal injury lawsuit based on the train accident.

Who Is Liable When a Train Hits a Pedestrian?

Pedestrians who are hit by trains in Georgia may have a cause of action (i.e. there may be a legal basis for a lawsuit) against the train company, or even the city in which the accident occurred, if there is evidence of negligence or some other wrongdoing. Pedestrian-train personal injury lawsuits in Georgia can be built on a variety of different errors on the part of a defendant railroad company, for example:

  • Speeding,
  • Negligent maintenance of a railroad crossing,
  • Broken crossing guards or lights,
  • Conductor fatigue, or
  • Failing to sound a warning horn.

In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, an injured pedestrian must be able to show that the defendant (usually the railroad company) owed him or her a certain duty of care and that this duty was breached in some way. What sort of duties do railroad companies owe to pedestrians? The answer to this question is highly case dependent, but a few examples may help shed some light on the issue.

Railroad companies have a duty to ensure that designated crossing areas are reasonably safe for pedestrians to use. However, railroad companies generally do not have a duty to make sections of track that are not designated for pedestrians to cross safe for people to walk over. This is because pedestrians who walk along train tracks or who cross them outside of the designated crossing areas are trespassing, and the railroad company is generally not obligated to make its tracks safe for trespassers. However, the railroad company still owes trespassers a duty to operate its trains with due care (which courts have often found includes a duty to warn trespassers that they are trespassing and to sufficiently deter pedestrians from walking on the tracks).

Need Legal Advice?

More than 2,900 people are injured each year in the United States in train accidents. When a train accident is the result of negligence or carelessness, the injured victim may be entitled to compensation from the train operator, the owner of the railway, or any other party whose improper actions, or inactions, caused his or her injuries. Here at The Angell Law Firm our experienced personal injury attorneys represent injured train accident victims, whether they are a passenger, a pedestrian, or a car driver. If you were injured in a train accident in Georgia and would like to discuss your legal options, call our Atlanta office today at (770) 217-4954 to schedule a free consultation.

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