Train accidents result in numerous catastrophic injuries and deaths every year throughout the United States. Since trains are normally managed by municipal entities, there are usually strict time requirements for filing a Notice of Claim and commencing a lawsuit. Therefore, it is critical to contact an attorney immediately if you have been injured by a train.
A railroad company can be liable for an accident for several reasons, whether it is negligence of the operator or poor maintenance of the train, crossing signals or surrounding area. Numerous catastrophic train injuries and death were the direct result of the train operator’s inattentiveness due to their use of a cell phone, lack of sleep or other impairment.
After such an accident, the appropriate agency will typically conduct their own internal investigation which will include determining the cause of the accident, and an inquiry as to whether the train operator violated safety regulations or standards. However, since the supervisors and train operators are typically employed by the same entity, it is extremely wise decision to have an independent investigation conducted on your behalf by your own attorney.
Train operators are expected to receive specialized training and the safety of the passengers is their responsibility. For example, operators are trained to avoid collisions and abrupt stops and starts, which can cause innocent passengers to be thrown around the cabins.
Railroad companies are responsible for such things as maintaining a railroad crossing, ensuring clear visibility, easily passable crossings, properly functioning lights, gates and warning signals, including sound warnings. To save money, railroad companies sometimes raise the crossing surface during routine maintenance, instead of removing old ballast (track beds, often comprised of gravel). This can result in a humped crossing, making it easier for longer vehicles such as buses or tractor trailers to become stuck on the tracks. Major railroads have approximately 1,000 such vehicles become stuck on the tracks each year. This approximation does not include vehicles that are able to get free before a train comes and have not reported an incident.
Considering a train’s nature, size, and weight even in a small accident, any collision is enough to cause extreme damage and personal injury or death. It is imperative to seek attorney advice in such cases as any train accident as the cases are specialized and often extremely complex. If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, or at a train station, contact us at 512-472-7799 for a free case evaluation. We will give your case the individual attention it deserves.