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Railroad Accident Injury

Did You Know?

Each year there are approximately 3,000 train accidents in the U.S. and about 1,000 people lose their lives.

railroad_accident_injuryRailroad accidents occur every 90 minutes in the U.S. Most people do not realize railroad accident happen on such a large scale. When a railroad accident happens it must be reported within thirty days. Most railroad accidents are the result of violations in inspections and maintenance. Every individual has the right to assume they will not endure a railroad accident and in the event that negligence resulted in railroad accident injuries and damage, rights have been violated.

The railroad system of the United States consists of over 600 railroads, with more than 250,000 employees, 200,000 miles of track, 1.2 million freight cars, and 20,000 locomotives. To monitor the railroads' compliance with Federally mandated safety standards, the Federal Railroad Administration was created and employs 400 inspectors operating out of 47 offices throughout the country.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 60% of all crossing fatalities occur at unprotected crossings and that lights and gates do NOT protect eighty percent of the public railroad crossings. Because rail lines cross major roads in populated areas as they cut through towns, trains pose a threat to other vehicular traffic and pedestrians. As commuter areas expand and train speeds increase there is a greater danger of railroad accidents.

Types of Railroad Accidents

There are four main types of railroad accidents:

  • Collision with another train
  • Derailment
  • Collision with a passenger vehicle
  • Accident due to mechanical failure - such as brake failure
  • Accidents due to human error

Railroad Accident Causes

Railroad accidents can occur due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Defective railroad tracks
  • Aggressive driving - most collisions with passenger vehicles can be attributed to reckless driving by the driver of the passenger vehicle.
  • Mechanical failure - contributing factors to mechanical failure include insufficient maintenance staff and money for repairs.
  • Excessive cargo loads
  • Increased train density
  • Heavier cargo loads - heavier loads can result in derailment and other accidents

Some of the types of railroad accidents are:

  • Derailments
  • Collisions with passenger vehicles
  • Collisions with other trains
  • Accidents due to mechanical failure

railroad_accident_injury2State laws exist in order to determine if the carrier is liable for the personal injuries caused by the railroad accident. Most states find a common carrier liable for the personal injuries during the railroad accident, and other states have regulations that do not hold the carrier responsible for completely ensuring the safety of a passenger but does find them to own a large amount of responsibility. A railroad accident that was the result of any type of noncompliance with safety laws will assume full liability in most instances.

Railroad companies will not always assume responsibility for a railroad accident, making the need for a railroad accident attorney especially crucial in recovering damages. A railroad accident attorney will be able to determine fault for the railroad accident. Not all individual will have the necessary resources and knowledge to produce the successful railroad accident recovery that a railroad accident attorney will be able to provide.

Some railroads that are owned or operated by government entities have tort claims act laws in cases of railroad accidents. This type of law requires the government entity to be given notice of the injury from the railroad accident within a short time and does not allow filing of a lawsuit unless there has been proper notice given. Railroads are required to report the FRA within thirty days of a railroad accident.

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