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An Overview of Railroad Liability in Massachusetts

Posted by David P. McCormack

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David’s technical and analytical approach to personal injury cases has served his clients well for over 15 years. Recognized for his commitment and intensity, David has consistently been recognized by his peers, and has successfully argued in front of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Meet David

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Since SUGARMAN's beginnings over 50 years ago in Boston, our personal injury lawyers have regularly represented people injured or killed in railroad accidents throughout Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, these accidents occur with some regularity, often due to negligence or recklessness on the part of railroad companies and their contractors.  The results can be devastating.

The litigation and trial of railroad accident cases is a specialized area of law.  Few accident lawyers in Massachusetts have more experience or success in such cases than the lawyers at SUGARMAN.  When necessary, our lawyers have taken railroad accident cases to the highest courts in Massachusetts.

Cases involving the MBTA railroad and other railroad companies are governed by a detailed, inter-related set of state and federal statutes and regulations.  These laws govern such things as speed, use of signals and horns, staffing of railroad equipment, employee hours, right of way on tracks, ownership and control of tracks and crossings, and behavior at crossings.  The laws also dictate when and how claims for personal injuries against railroad companies can be brought.

Whether a railroad accident involves a pedestrian struck by a train or trolley, a passenger getting on or off a train, or a collision at a railroad crossing, you need a personal injury attorney with thorough knowledge of and experience with this complex set of rules, regulations and laws to navigate and succeed in any railroad accident case.

The investigation and proof of railroad negligence is similarly specialized.  Technology available to railroad companies, including black-box and dispatch data, can provide detailed information about a particular train or piece of railroad equipment, as well as system-wide information about how and under what circumstances an accident happened.  SUGARMAN's personal injury lawyers know how to gain access to this information and know the specialized experts who know how to extract and interpret it. Prompt action by a victim's lawyer is critical to ensure that evidence of a railroad's negligence is preserved and not hidden or destroyed.

It is not just passengers and the general public who are victims of railroad accidents. Workers at railroad companies, including MBTA workers, are also frequently exposed to serious risks of injury or death in the course of doing their jobs.  SUGARMAN's personal injury lawyers have handled cases of injured railroad workers in a variety of circumstances, including claims under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), claims involving defective railroad equipment (product liability claims), and claims involving the negligence of railroad contractors and sub-contractors.  In the complex web of the railroad system, finding the negligent party, and proving their negligence, is a skill that takes years of specialization in such cases.

Victims of railroad accidents should know this:  All railroad companies, including the MBTA, are known in legal circles for their aggressive and often biased investigations of accidents to deflect responsibility for the injuries and deaths, as well as scorched earth litigation tactics.  With this in mind, every railroad accident case must be approached by an experienced personal injury lawyer with full knowledge and understanding of the laws that apply, and with aggressive investigation and litigation to match those of the railroad companies.  SUGARMAN's accident lawyers have litigated many of these cases in the past, and are up to the task.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a railway accident, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at 617-542-1000, or email info@sugarman.com for a consultation.