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Wrongful Deaths & Train Accidents

Posted on March 22, 2022

Thousands of train accidents and fatalities occur every year. When the negligence or intentional act of another party causes a victim’s death, it is considered a wrongful death. In those cases, the surviving family members have a right to pursue a wrongful death claim for compensation and justice for their loved one. 

Train Platforms & Pushed Victims

As ridership begins to return to pre-pandemic levels, transit crimes are soaring. Those include a string of randomly unprovoked attacks on commuters who are being pushed onto subway tracks and injured or killed. For example, in January of this year, a homeless man pushed a woman onto the tracks to her death while waiting for the subway in New York Times Square. Days after, another person was shoved onto the rails for seemingly no reason and suffered a laceration to his leg. These incidents have renewed calls for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to install platform barriers that would prevent riders from being pushed onto tracks.

When a victim is pushed and suffers an injury or is wrongfully killed in a transit system, there may be multiple liable parties. The at-fault party who attacked the victim will likely face criminal charges, but the surviving family also has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. No amount of money can justify the loss of a loved one, but it is an option for the family to hold the at-fault party accountable. Other potentially liable parties include the transit authority, the train operator, equipment manufacturer, parts supplier, or even a government agency. For example, if the transit authority had been called upon to install safety barriers but failed to, a train operator that could have stopped in time but was distracted, an equipment manufacturer produced a defective part that led to a mechanical failure that contributed to the accident, etc. 

What’s the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Murder?

Wrongful death occurs when a victim is killed due to another party’s negligence or deliberate act. However, when a wrongful death is caused by a deliberate act, it is also murder. Therefore, murder can be a type of wrongful death, but not all wrongful deaths are considered murders. When a person is unintentionally killed due to another party’s reckless or negligent actions, it is only a wrongful death. Rather than murder charges, the at-fault party may face an involuntary manslaughter charge. Whether criminal charges are filed or not, in either case, the surviving family can take civil legal action by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. 

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim After a Train Accident or Deliberate Attack in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the representative of the deceased person’s estate must file a wrongful death claim on behalf of all eligible surviving family members. In many cases, the deceased’s will names the executor, which is often a specific family member. If the decedent does not have a will, a family member can volunteer, or the court may appoint someone. If the estate representative fails to file a wrongful death claim within six months of the death, any beneficiary of the deceased’s estate can pursue a lawsuit on behalf of all beneficiaries.

What Can I Do If I’ve Been Injured Or A Loved One Has Suffered a Wrongful Death on a Platform or Train?

After an injury or a loved one’s wrongful death due to an accident or intentional act committed on a train or platform, contact a Philadelphia Train Accident Attorney. They can help you determine which parties are liable and will immediately begin working on gathering evidence to build a solid case. Suing a transit authority or government entity can be complicated and may involve additional hurdles compared to other personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Having a lawyer on your side will ensure your rights are protected and that you recover the fair compensation you and your family deserves. 

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