An October 8, 2015, collision between a SunRail commuter train and a dump truck in Winter Park, Florida (FL), is sure to cause passengers and crewmembers headaches far beyond the injuries they suffered in the crash. The accident occurred along the right-of-way near the intersection of Orange Avenue and Holt Street. Everyone agrees the construction vehicle was parked too close to the tracks, but that knowledge will not immediately settle liability questions in ways necessary to allow accident victims to collect on insurance claims.
A follow-up report on the crash published in the Orlando Sentinel on November 5 revealed that the dump truck was a contractor's vehicle, which could leave the company building at the site without responsibility for settling insurance claims. However, the construction company that hired the truck and driver had regulatory responsibilities for putting up a fence that would have left the right-of-way free of obstructions. The company never set up the barrier despite agreeing in writing to do so.
The newspaper went further into complications that include the construction company being partially owned by Winter Park's mayor and the SunRail system already having submitted preliminary claims against the contractor. Several high-level issues must be resolved before those suffering injuries can receive compensation. Which party bears ultimately liability? Should liability be shared? Does ignoring safety regulations matter more than negligence or simple human error? This list of questions goes on.
If they have not already done so, the injured victims from the train-truck crash should speak with a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling complicated rail and train liability cases like this. If they lack a knowledgeable, dedicated railroad accident attorney who will make sure their rights and interests are represented and protected, they may have to pay their medical expense and other accident-related costs out of their own pockets.