Thousands of people use the train to commute every day in Washington, DC. While trains are many times safer than riding in a car, there is still a chance that you could get into an accident.
Most of these accidents result from operator errors, mechanical problems, flawed designs, slippery floors, chipped staircases, and faulty escalators. The good news is that there is a chance you could recover compensation for damages suffered if you are injured at a train station or in a train accident.
A Lawyer Can Help You Prove Liability
To receive compensation for injuries suffered at a train station or accident, you must show that the railroad company acted negligently, thus causing the accident that left you injured.
Often proving negligence involves showing that all the elements of negligence exist. For example, the railroad company must have breached its duty of care for the people that access the rail station. Additionally, the breach of care must be the direct cause of the accident and injuries.
Proving all these elements may not be as simple. So, you may need to seek the help of Washington D.C. personal injury lawyers from a reliable law firm like Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., who have experience representing railroad accident victims.
What to Do After an Accident
Getting a lawyer is important when pursuing a railroad accident claim. But you can only recover the compensation you deserve based on the strength of your case, which is determined by your actions after an accident.
Below are some things you will need to do after an accident to maximize compensation.
Get Medical Help
Your health is the first thing you want to take care of after an accident. Even when you may not feel physical pain or have apparent injuries, it’s important to get checked up to eliminate the chances of injuries that may not show immediately after an accident, such as concussions and other internal injuries.
Also, medical records such as doctors’ notes, bills, and prescription medication receipts are critical when establishing damages. If you do not get medical help at the scene, ensure you see a doctor as soon as possible.
Document the Scene and Your Injuries
The only way of preserving evidence at the time of the accident is by documenting it in photos or video. So, take several photos and video footage of the scene if you can.
When documenting the scene, you will need to pay attention to essential details such as the hazard responsible for the accident, your injuries, and anything else that can help pin the accident to a specific place. You may also want to gather witness statements and contacts.
Report Your Accident
According to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), all railroad accidents should be reported to the police by calling 911. So, whenever possible, call 911 after an accident. If you can’t, there is a high chance someone else will.
A 911 call brings the police and paramedics to the scene, who will write a report. The police report becomes important evidence when navigating your claim because it helps connect your injuries to the accident.
File a Notice of Claim and Lawsuit
You must also file a notice of claim with the Washington WMATA within 90 days of the accident. After filing a notice of claim, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority requests a hearing where they question the claimant. Under some circumstances, the authority can request to have the claimant examined by a doctor.
After this stage, your lawyer can help you file an injury claim. The statute of limitation for filing a claim for a personal injury in Washington DC is three years. But, when filing a claim against a governmental agency like WMATA, the statute of limitation comes down to one year and 90 days.