Railroad/Transportation Accidents FAQ
How often do railroad accidents occur?
Despite the improvements to the overall safety of trains and railroads, catastrophic injuries and death still occur. Amtrak trains are considered one of the safest modes of travel, yet the number of deaths in 2020 was 757 and nonfatal accidents totaled 5,479.
New federal laws, which include automatic braking, a public education program and Positive Train Control (PTC) that uses sophisticated technology, have helped reduce the number of accidents, so why do they still happen? Accidents occur for two reasons: unsafe conditions and human error.
What is the most frequent cause of train accidents?
Despite all the attempts at safety, train tracks buckle, signal lights malfunction and train personnel make mistakes.
Many accidents take place at railroad crossings or are due to broken rails or faulty welding issues, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Other causes are faulty inspections, mechanical failure, speeding, signal failure and a distracted train engineer.
Failure to provide safe intersections and upgrades and the elimination of grade crossings between humans and huge, high-speed, dangerous trains must be addressed and improvements made to make our transportation industry safer.
What kind of injuries occur?
Because of the weight and speed of trains, injuries are often severe. Among the most common are serious bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, burn injuries, shock and crushed limbs. And of course, injuries that cause wrongful death as well.
Many of these injuries require years of therapy, rehabilitation, and treatment. If you or a loved one has experienced significant harm from a train accident, it’s important to understand your legal options. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may be able to seek compensation for these damages that cover your medical expenses, lost future earnings, and more.
How is fault determined?
The victims of a train accident may need years of medical treatment for their physical injuries and emotional trauma related to the accident and for the loss of future income. Filing a claim against a train company can be a daunting task because they have lawyers ready to fight against paying you.
Common at-fault parties for train accidents include train operators, the train company, insurance companies and vehicle drivers. An attorney will help you determine the cause of the accident and who is legally liable. Accident attorneys are skilled negotiators who understand how to work with insurance companies. When the railroad or insurance company offers less than what you deserve, an experienced personal injury lawyer will fight for the highest outcome possible.
How soon should a victim or victim’s family contact an attorney?
Train accidents and injuries can vary widely, making it difficult to offer general statements about legal action. If you were injured or are a family member of someone who died, it’s natural to be distraught, but hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is one of the most important steps you can take.
Lawyers at Smith LaCien LLP are experienced in representing victims of catastrophic transportation-related accidents. They will work with you and your family to ensure the responsible parties are held accountable and that you receive the financial compensation you deserve.