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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Family Sues After Grandmother Is Thrown From A Train


The family of a 72-year-old woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the public transit unit after she was thrown from a train. The train struck a pickup truck causing the deadly collision. The family contends that the transit authority should have done more to avoid the dangerous conditions that led to the accident. The force from the collision was strong enough to tear a hole in the side of the train. Four others sustained minor injuries.

The lawsuit contends that this wasn’t the first incident of a train nearly hitting a vehicle that had stopped on the tracks. In this case, there was a construction project happening nearby which was causing vehicles to get backed up. Some of those vehicles were straddling the rail. There had been several near misses in the past, but in this case, the conductor was unable to stop the rail in time causing a collision with a pickup.

The rail is being faulted for failing to account for the nearby construction, allowing several near misses, allowing previous collisions between rails and vehicles, and failing to correct a foreseeably dangerous condition. At the very least, the plaintiffs contend, the rail should have alerted conductors to slow down before approaching the crossing.

How solid is this lawsuit?

 On a scale of air to steel, it’s steel. Consider firstly that the best defense to any personal injury claim is to blame the victim. Consider secondly that if you cannot blame the victim, you can blame a third party. Then consider the fact that it will be very difficult to blame a grandmother for being ejected from a train. Some of the liability may fall on the driver whose vehicle came to rest on the tracks, but for the most part, the liability lands squarely on the shoulders of the rail company that failed to remedy a dangerous condition.

In most cases, issues of liability are clouded by multiple claims as to who is at fault for the accident. The transit company can blame the truck for the accident, but won’t be able to explain away why several accidents and near-accidents occurred at the same spot without an effort to remedy the situation. In this case, the foreknowledge of previous accidents can be used to increase the liability or negligence of the primary owner.

Cases like this tend to settle under seal. It’s important to understand that a company has to pay for your silence. They are essentially offering more money to make the matter go away quietly rather than endure the potential of having the public know that they don’t take their safety overly seriously. Lawsuits that settle under seal do not discuss damages awards. If the company wants to prevent you from speaking out about your experience, they have to pay for that. They can even tell the public that they accept no liability in the matter after they offered a multi-million dollar settlement and demanded you keep your mouth shut. Hence why non-disclosure agreements usually accompany large settlements.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today

 Injured in an accident with another driver? Call the Tampa personal injury lawyers at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and recover damages related to your injuries.


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