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Brightline Accident Lawsuits

High-speed train systems like Brightline reduce reliance on personal motor vehicles and let you get where you need to go without worrying about traffic and parking. However, no form of transportation—whether it’s a car, truck, or train—is 100 percent safe.  

Passengers can be injured when their train suddenly jerks or jolts, causing them to lose their balance and resulting in a severe fall. Negligent actions by Brightline employees can also lead to life-changing injuries for drivers and pedestrians crossing train tracks. Passengers can also be injured if a train collides with a vehicle or runs off the tracks.  

Whatever the circumstance of your injury, you’ll want a skilled attorney for your Brightline accident case to help you hold the responsible parties accountable. Reach out to Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review.

Rely on an Experienced Train Accident Lawyer

When you suffer an injury on a Brightline train, you need legal assistance from a leading railroad attorney with experience taking on big railroad companies. John M. Cooper, one of our founding partners, can help. Throughout his 30 years handling personal injury claims, he has won cases against Amtrak, Norfolk Southern, and CSX. His awards and accolades include: 

  • Former Chair of the Railroad Worker Injury Law Litigation Group and Railroad Law Section of the American Association for Justice 
  • Selected as among Best Lawyers in Railroad Law by US News 
  • AV Preeminent and Ethical Peer Review Rated by Martindale Hubbell 

If you were injured on a Brightline train, our attorneys may be able to help. Learn more by reading Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyer’s free train injury guidebook.

About the Brightline Train System

Brightline first opened in 2017 with a connection between Miami and West Palm Beach. Since then, its service has expanded to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Boca Raton. It’s the only privately funded railroad service in the U.S. and aims to provide sustainable transportation that limits environmental impact.  

The initial reception of Brightline trains was overwhelmingly positive. It alleviated the need to drive or fly between some of Florida’s most visited cities. However, enthusiasm began to wane as accident rates went up. Just two years after service began, the Associated Press reported that Brightline was the deadliest train in the country.  

Dozens of people have died in Brightline train accidents, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicle passengers. Many others have suffered serious injuries. In an effort to improve safety along its tracks and within its trains, Brightline initiated a $45 million federally-funded safety program to install better signage, fencing, and other features to prevent future accidents and deaths.

Types of Brightline Accidents

There are many potential causes of Brightline accidents, so it’s important to explain your case to an experienced train accident lawyer who can investigate the circumstances of an injury or death caused by Brightline. Common causes of train and railroad accidents include derailments, unsafe crossings, equipment malfunction, and unsafe working conditions

Derailment occurs when a train comes off the tracks. Many derailments occur in rail yards but may occur on the main rail lines due to train crew error, defective tracks, wheel-axle issues, and more. When a derailment happens, it can cause a train to tip over. The weight of derailed train cars can cause significant injury or death to anyone on or near the Brightline train.  

Crossing accidents can happen when motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists cross tracks as a train approaches. People may not realize the train is coming or how fast it is, resulting in serious and even fatal accidents. 

Equipment malfunction occurs due to poor maintenance or improper repairs to a train or the tracks. A malfunction may result in a severe accident, such as a derailment or fire. Tracks and rail cars must be maintained to allow fast trains to safely operate.  

Ticketed passengers often get hurt getting onto or off the train. Train passengers can also suffer injuries from a collision or due to the stopping and starting of a train. Sudden movements or rough tracks may increase the risk of unexpected passenger falls, resulting in broken bones and other injuries. Brightline, as a common carrier of rail passengers, owes a high duty of care for its passengers.

Recent Brightline Accidents

Brightline has been involved in numerous accidents since it first opened. In a recent February 2023 case, two people died when a Brightline train hit their SUV while it was stopped at an intersection in Delray Beach. A June 2022 case involved a car collision with a Brightline train in Oakland Park, resulting in a fatality. Sometimes, a trucking company and the train are both at-fault for causing a train wreck.   

In May 2022, someone else died after driving around the railroad crossing gates in an attempt to beat the train’s arrival. Other Brightline accidents involve pedestrians walking too close to the tracks or attempting to cross before the train arrives. The railroad will always blame the victim in these pedestrian cases, though the company failed to provide a safe set-up for the expected interaction of people and trains at grade crossings.  

How Many Accidents Has Brightline Had? 

Since service began in 2017, there have been nearly 200 accidents involving Brightline trains. Nearly 100 resulted in a fatality. Many others have resulted in serious injuries. This is an alarming number of train accidents for a train company.

Common Causes of Brightline Accidents

  • Speed – Brightline trains travel at speeds as high as 125 miles per hour—much faster than most road vehicles. The speed and weight of a Brightline train can result in catastrophic and even fatal accidents.  
  • Operational error – Since Brightline trains travel so quickly, there is little room for operational error. Mistakes can be made even by experienced conductors and engineers. Tough working conditions for railroad workers can lead to collisions, derailment, or jolts to the passenger cars, potentially resulting in injury or death. 
  • Station issues – Once a Brightline train pulls into a station, employees and passengers exit and enter the train. The process of loading riders and baggage and assisting passengers onto and off the train can lead to injuries. Workers have lots of duties at the station to evaluate their train’s safety equipment.
  • Unsafe equipment – Traveling at high speeds can wear down train equipment quickly. Improper maintenance and repairs of rolling stock and track can result in a disastrous accident for workers or passengers.

Damages Available in Brightline Train Accidents

Victims of Brightline train accidents may be eligible for significant legal compensation for their injuries. Potential damages in these cases include: 

  • Past and future medical expenses, including hospital visits, medications, surgeries, and physical therapy. 
  • Lost wages from being unable to work 
  • Lowered future earning capacity 
  • Amputation and permanent disfigurement 
  • Lowered quality of life 
  • Emotional distress 
  • Physical pain  

Survivors of loved ones who died in a Brightline train accident may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Though a lawsuit cannot undo the tragic loss of a loved one, it can provide compensation for lost financial support, funeral expenses, and more.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Train Accident Claim?

The statute of limitations for filing a train accident claim varies by state. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death is normally two years from the date of the incident. If you believe you have a train accident claim, seek assistance from an experienced Brightline accident attorney immediately so they can begin the investigation process.

Work with One of Our Skilled Railroad Accident Lawyers On Your Brightline Lawsuit

When it comes to injury lawsuits stemming from train accidents, you want an attorney who understands transportation law and how they impact personal injury cases. You’ll find that railroad industry experience when you work with a railroad accident lawyer from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers.  

Our attorneys have what it takes to hold major train lines accountable, and we are ready to help you with your Brightline case. We provide free, no-obligation consultations, and you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with a skilled train accident lawyer.

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