Train Crash | Railroad Accident Attorney
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Train crash accidents occur more frequently than many people realize. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, an average of 3,000 train accidents occur each year in the United States. Collisions and derailments are responsible not just for extensive property damage, but also catastrophic injury and loss of life to pedestrians, motorists, railroad employees, and train passengers.
If you were injured in a train crash or collision, contact our team at The Carlson Law Firm to speak with a Railroad Accident Attorney. We can offer you legal guidance from our nationally recognized train accident attorneys. Our team has decades of combined experience representing injury victims and families throughout Texas and across the United States. When you consult with our firm, we can determine whether you have grounds to seek compensation for a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Types of Train Accidents
- Train collision or derailment
- Train carrying toxic or hazardous materials derails
- Train employees exposed to toxic or hazardous materials
- Railroad crossing accidents
- Railroad worker injuries
Train Derailments: Passenger Injuries
When trains derail, the level of damage to both property and human life is almost always catastrophic. Sadly, many derailments are preventable because human error causes nearly 29% of all derailments. The most common human error cause is inattention resulting in allowing the train to speed into a curve in the track. These crashes are even more dangerous because they involve high speeds. A train traveling at 100 miles per hour has more than twice the amount of kinetic (moving) energy as a train going 70 miles per hour.
If the investigation reveals human error was the cause of the train crash, people injured in the crash have a legal right to monetary compensation for their injuries and pain and suffering. If you were injured in a derailment, it is important to contact a qualified railroad accident attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence.
Train Collisions: Railroad Crossing Accidents
Drivers approaching a train crossing may be unable to see an oncoming train if there is overgrown vegetation or something else obstructing the view. Other times, the crossing signal or gates are not installed correctly, broken, poorly marked, or improperly maintained, and they fail to alert drivers of an oncoming train.
By law, trains moving through densely populated areas must run at slower speeds and use whistles to alert pedestrians and drivers that a train is approaching. Failure to do so can create a dangerous situation that results in an accident.
As many as 80% of railroad crossings do not have adequate warning devices. Train companies have a responsibility to maintain crossing equipment. Pedestrians and drivers may be utterly unaware that a train is coming until it is too late.
Railroad crossing accidents involving pedestrians and drivers are usually severe, often resulting in death. Determining whether the injury was a result of negligence can be very complicated, with many different parties involved.
Types of Railroad Injuries
Even a minor incident involving a train may result in injury or death due to the massive weight and size of the locomotive.
- Physical injures (lacerations, broken bones, amputations, burns, etc.)
- Slip and fall injuries
- Ballast injuries to feet, ankles, knees, legs, spine
- Repetitive motion injuries: Carpal tunnel, Spinal injuries
- Hearing loss
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries (from jumping off moving trains)
- Toxic chemical exposure (asbestos, chemical solvents, diesel fumes, mesothelioma, etc.)
- Lung cancer
- Vibration injuries (ankles, feet, joints, spine)
Who Can Be Help Liable for a Train Crash?
Determining liability in a train accident is an incredibly complex process as there are many potentially liable parties. Each of these individuals will do everything possible to avoid financial responsibility. In doing so, they will attempt to point the blame elsewhere.
There are a number of factors that could contribute or directly cause a train accident, from the actions of a careless train operator to a defect in a vital train engine part. Thus, there are several entities that may be responsible for whatever went wrong. One of more of the following entities may be held liable for negligence after a train crash:
- The railroad company
- The conductor of the train
- The entity responsible for maintaining the tracks
- The city or jurisdiction where the accident occurred
- A third party
Railroad crews have a duty to use prudence when approaching a crossing. As mentioned previously, trains have rules as to when and how long and at what decibel level. Failure to blow a train horn is usually considered negligence. In some circumstances, for example, a multi-track line where one train is stopped as another continues, utilizing the horn is not sufficient. It still may be a requirement that a worker be assigned to the crossing area to warn motorists of the moving train behind the stationary one.
As for crossing lights and gates, It’s typically a state agency that oversees train guards, but federal regulations then monitor them and repaired by the railroad itself. If federal funds are at all used in the installation of the devices, the railways are then compelled to follow exact federal specifications. In the case of crossing private land, designated crossings are still deemed to be public. So even though gates are not always required, the railroad still has responsibility should there be an accident.
Examples of Railroad Negligence
- Failing to establish a safe working environment
- Using improper equipment
- Failing to provide adequate training to employees
- Not performing frequent inspections
- Improperly maintaining trains or equipment
- Failing to properly mark or maintain a railroad crossing
- Over-working employees, creating a dangerous work environment
- Failing to maintain train crossings
- Exposing employees to toxic substances
What Should I Do If I Was Involved In A Train Crash?
In the hours or days after an accident, the shock of being involved in such a catastrophic event may still not have worn off. You might be confused and wondering what you should do.
The public and newsworthy nature of most train crashes make one thing almost sure; if you were injured, somebody probably saw to it that you received medical attention. With that most immediate of concerns taken care of, perhaps you could use a roadmap for what comes next.
Here are some things you can do to ensure you will get the best possible recovery for your injuries and property damage:
- Preserve evidence
- Keep discussion to a minimum
- If your vehicle was involved in the train crash, notify your insurer
- Locate a reputable railroad accident attorney to handle your train crash case
How a Railroad Accident Attorney at The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You
When negligence results in injury, an injured party suffers a loss in various ways. The law allows an aggrieved party to pursue damages to recover those losses. Common types of damages recoverable in a personal injury case include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to earn
- Scarring and disfigurement
The families of those who have died may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one with the help of a railroad accident attorney.
With extensive civil litigation experience handling all types of personal injury cases, you can be confident when you entrust your case to our firm. We encourage you to call our office to talk about potentially pursuing financial compensation for damages like pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and more, with the help of a qualified railroad accident attorney. Most states only allow individuals two years to file a personal injury claim, so don’t risk losing your opportunity to take legal action. We are standing by to take your call. Best of all, there is no cost to begin your case, and you will owe us nothing for our services unless we make a recovery on your behalf.