Trains are massive and heavy, especially when freight cars are fully loaded. Even at low speeds, a crash involving a train and a car, cyclist or pedestrian can result in serious or fatal injuries. It’s not uncommon for people involved in collisions with trains to lose limbs or suffer major head trauma if they survive the collision. Injuries can take weeks or months to heal — or cause permanent damage, including paralysis or impaired brain function.
Train crashes are devastating, often resulting in the serious physical injury and emotional trauma of those involved. The size and weight of a speeding train greatly enhances the risk of injury or even death to those involved. When safety standards in engineering and system management are not upheld, train derailments may occur with disturbing frequency across the U.S.
There are a number of ways that a person might be injured in a train-related collision:
Railroad crossing collisions
Railroad crossing collisions can involve cars or trucks being struck or pedestrians being run over. People have even been known to take their own lives by parking on a railroad crossing and waiting for a train. Common causes of railroad crossing accidents include:
- Defective signals or gates
- Trains that fail to sound their horns when approaching crossings
- Trains that fail to use their lights when approaching crossings
- Trains parked too close to a crossing
- Crossings obstructed by plants and other objects
- Objects protruding from the train
Derailments cause the most widespread damage. Train derailments are almost always the result of failure to follow established safety standards but may also be caused by:
- Faulty tracks
- Obstacles on the tracks
- Faulty equipment
- Too much cargo weight
Train crashes do not always involve a collision or derailment. Pedestrians and bystanders can slip and fall under trains and be crushed. Any lawsuit where a train or railroad is involved requires the special expertise of an experienced train accident attorney.
Train crashes often require complex investigations to figure exactly what happened. Typically when a train is derailed or involved in a collision, a government safety agency will step in and perform an investigation. Depending upon the results of the investigation, you may be able to pursue a claim against the owners of the rail line or the company or agency operating the train. Often those are different entities with different responsibilities in terms of maintenance of the tracks and proper operation of the train. There may be some combination of negligence that means you have to submit claims to multiple insurance policies or file a lawsuit against multiple parties.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a train crash/collision because of another party’s negligent or reckless conduct, let us help. Our goal is to secure the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Contact us today.