Jury Holds Railroad Company Liable for Fatal Train Accident, Court Upholds $10.4 Million Verdict

Although less common than years ago, Florida train accidents still injure a significant number of people each year. In fact, according to the most recent government statistics, there have already been roughly 350 fatalities due to train accidents so far this year.Railroad companies have a duty to ensure that they operate safely. This means that they must ensure that the train and tracks are in good condition, that crossings are well-marked and free of visual obstructions, and that train operators do what they can to avoid accidents. In a recent wrongful death case, a court affirmed a jury verdict in the amount of $10.7 million, based on a railroad company’s failure to take the necessary precautions to avoid an accident.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff’s husband and a friend were traveling across a set of railroad tracks when, unbeknownst to them, a train was immediately approaching. The train collided with the vehicle, which was being driven by the plaintiff’s husband, causing it to flip upside down. Both the plaintiff’s husband and the passenger were ejected. The plaintiff’s husband died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident. The passenger survived, although he suffered serious injuries.

The passenger explained that neither of the men saw or heard the train coming. He testified that it was not until the plaintiff’s husband yelled “train!” that he had any idea a train was nearby. At that point, the passenger explained, their vehicle was directly atop the tracks.

The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the railroad company. In support of her claim, the plaintiff presented evidence showing the following:

  • The railroad crossing was marked by a single black-and-white sign;
  • The crossing was overgrown with vegetation, limiting a motorist’s ability to see down the track in either direction; and
  • The train operator failed to sound the train’s horn as the train approached the intersection.

After hearing the evidence, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $14.8 million. However, the jury determined that the plaintiff’s husband was 35% at fault in the accident. Thus, the court reduced the award by 35%, making the final damages award roughly $10.4 million.

The railroad company appealed the verdict to a higher court, making several arguments that were summarily rejected by the court. In the end, the court determined that the jury’s verdict was valid and thus upheld the $10.4 million award in favor of the plaintiff.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Train Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida train accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Florida personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing victims in all types of Florida injury claims, including train accidents. We take pride in providing unmatched client service as well as zealous advocacy, from the beginning of your case to the end. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses “Coming-and-Going” Rule as It Pertains to Employer Liability, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 19, 2018.

Court Limits Employer’s Duty in Recent Case Stemming from Pedestrian-Railroad Fatality, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 5, 2018.


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