Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyer at Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben Helps Train Accident Victim Families Win Long Battle with BNSF

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Minnesota accident attorney Paul Godlewski, from the law firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben in Minneapolis, represented the family of Corey Chase, as the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court decision regarding a tragic train accident case started almost a decade ago.

Minnesota Personal Injury Law Firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben

Minnesota Personal Injury Law Firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben

Having this confirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court that this tragedy was not the result of any negligence on the part of their children, it was the railroad, the railroad's negligence, they feel very pleased with that.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has made a final determination on a train accident case started almost a decade ago. In September 2003, 20-year old Brian Frazier was driving his car over the railroad crossing at Ferry Street in Anoka, Minnesota, with three other passengers when the car was struck by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train traveling at about 60 miles per hour. Frazier, 20-year old Corey Chase, 19-year old Harry Rhoades Jr., and 17-year old Bridgette Shannon were killed. Minnesota personal injury law firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben represented the family of Corey Chase.

The families sued the railroad, stating the crossing gates were not functioning properly. BNSF defended stating that Frazier tried to “beat the gate.” Evidence was presented to the court that BNSF failed to thoroughly investigate and report on an accident only a few months prior to the September 2003 tragedy where the gate malfunctioned.

The initial court ruling by Judge Maas provided a wrongful death award to the families and also sanctions against BNSF for failing to adequately preserve and produce evidence relevant to the accident. BNSF appealed the ruling, stating that the jury was given the wrong instructions on which to base their verdict. The Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned Maas’s decision and called for a retrial. The case was appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court decision and determined that the initial order should be upheld. Minnesota accident attorney for the family of Corey Chase, Paul Godlewski from the law firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, was quoted as saying, "Having this confirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court that this tragedy was not the result of any negligence on the part of their children, it was the railroad, the railroad's negligence, they feel very pleased with that."

Train Accidents
There is a train accident every 90 minutes in the United States, with 4,000 train-vehicle accidents occurring at railroad crossings yearly according to the National Safety Council. While not all train accidents include fatalities, the majority of accidents involving vehicles or pedestrians are tragic. Causes of these accidents range from aggressive driving to mechanical failure.

There is a responsibility on the part of the railroad to ensure passengers and bystanders, as well as employees, are kept safe. Strict standards are in place to maintain that safety, and railroad companies must adhere to these safety standards. Government operated railroad lines must follow federal guidelines, which have higher standards for safety. If someone is injured because of the railroad’s failure to adhere to those safety standards, the railroad is held responsible.

It is important that train accidents, especially those involving vehicles or pedestrians, are reported promptly and investigated thoroughly. It is also important to preserve the evidence at the accident scene, but most people do not realize there is also a statute of limitations on filing a personal injury claim against a railroad. While the health and recovery of the victim after the accident should be the first priority, finding a good law firm with experience handling Minnesota train accident claims is essential in preserving your rights.

Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, P.A.
The law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben has been providing MN personal injury legal services to accident victims and their families for 40 years. They have become the largest personal injury law firm in Minnesota, which offers them ample resources throughout the state to aggressively and thoroughly fight for the rights of accident victims and their families. Their goal is to get the highest amount of compensation for their clients with the least amount of hassles.

Like the representation of the Chase family in the BNSF case, Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben’s team of personal injury attorneys in Minnesota are not afraid to pursue the rights of victims against large companies. The firm has fought and won some of the most high-profiles cases in Minnesota and across the nation. They have earned a 98 percent success rate at trial, which encourages large corporations and insurance companies to offer fair settlements to the victims and their families rather than risk going to trial.

In the aftermath of a tragic accident, it is important to retain the services of an experienced, professional law firm. At Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, clients receive the personal care and consideration usually found at smaller law firms, but with the vast resources and experience typically found at large law firms. It is difficult enough dealing with the emotions and anger after losing a loved one without worrying about the law firm you hire to represent you. Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben have the experience you need at the time you need it.

Anoka County District Court
Court File No.: C4-05-1607

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