Earlier this month, a federal jury awarded a total of at least $4.7 million to Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad from a Nevada trucking company for damage that was caused when a truck driver for the company crashed into an Amtrak passenger train in Nevada, killing six people and injuring many others. According to an article on abcnews.com, the accident occurred on June 24, 2011 and was allegedly the result of a distracted or drowsy driver and a truck with faulty brakes.
The driver of the truck was killed in the accident, so he was unable to explain what may have happened. During the four-week trial in August, lawyers for Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad used videos from the train itself to argue that the lights and gate at the railroad crossing worked properly at the time of the accident, and the driver of the truck failed to respond to several whistle blasts from the train before smashing into the fourth car of the train in a fiery collision. Most of the jury award was for damage to the trains and compensation for injuries to employees and passengers, and Union Pacific Railroad was also awarded money for the costs to repair the railroad crossing that was damaged in the accident.
Although the plaintiffs in this particular lawsuit were the railroad companies, the article notes that several of the families of the passengers and conductor who were killed in the crash have filed civil suits against the trucking company, the driver’s estate, and his insurance company. The families’ lawsuits most likely allege similar facts to the railroad companies’ lawsuit, although the families are seeking damages for wrongful death and not property damage. In addition to the wrongful death lawsuits, those injured in the crash may be able to seek compensation for the accident through a personal injury action.
Wrongful Death Actions
A New Mexico wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit usually alleges that the defendant was negligent, which led to the injury or deaths that the plaintiff or plaintiffs are seeking to be compensated for. Negligence is generally proven by demonstrating that the defendant was in a position where he or she owed the plaintiff a duty and caused the damages alleged by violating that duty.
As a general rule, a defendant violates a duty to a plaintiff by failing to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. For example, if a truck driver fails to stop at a railroad crossing when the lights and gate are properly working and then crashes into a passenger train, killing several people, it could be argued that he or she did not exercise the reasonable care that a truck driver should when approaching a railroad crossing.
If a plaintiff can prove that a defendant negligently caused the injuries alleged, the plaintiff is permitted to collect compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, loss of companionship, property damage, pain and suffering, and other possible damages. The amount of money that is awarded for these damages is usually determined by a jury, although a judge must often approve the final verdict, sometimes adding interest and attorney’s fees to the total. Since personal injury and wrongful death laws are designed to allow plaintiffs to collect damages from negligent defendants, judges will generally approve jury verdicts that are reasonably justifiable.
Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Truck Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident involving a semi-truck, the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at The Fine Law Firm want to know about your case. We have the experience that is needed to get you fair compensation for the harm that was done by negligent defendants. The Fine Law Firm represents clients in many types of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits, including semi-truck crashes. Contact us today at (585)889-3463 or through our website to schedule a no-obligation consultation and talk about your case with a skilled New Mexico injury attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Bicyclist Hit and Seriously Injured By Garbage Truck in Albuquerque Last Month., New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, July 7, 2014.
Fallen Stop Sign Leads Woman to Drive into Intersection and Collide with Semi-Truck, Killing Her Instantly, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, July 28, 2014.