According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), there are more than 130,000 miles of railroad tracks in the US. Some of these rail lines cross one another or cross over and under bridges and roads. Such conditions place pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in close proximity to the trains.
Unfortunately, accidents can happen. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reports that 3,000 train accidents occur each year in the US. These accidents can often be catastrophic, resulting in thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in property damage, serious injuries, and even death.
Train Accident Types
The most common types of train accidents include railroad crossing collisions, derailments, and collision with other trains.
Railroad crossing collisions – These accidents can involve pedestrians being run over or vehicles being struck by a train.
Derailments – These accidents occur when a train runs off its rails.
Collision with other trains – These accidents occur when two trains collide on a single-track stretch.
Causes of Railroad Accidents
Discussed below are some of the causes of railroad accidents:
Negligence may be assessed on the part of a government agency, railroad employees or equipment manufacturer. Examples of negligent activities include failure to secure or release hand brakes, giving incorrect instructions to crew members, failure to comply with orders and railroad employees falling asleep.
2. Mechanical Failure
While not as common as railroad accidents caused by the negligence of train operators, mechanical failure does play a large role in train derailment or collision. According to statistics, mechanical failures account for more that 10 percent of the total number of train accidents. Some of the common mechanical failures that cause train accidents include poor train maintenance, undetected damage or fire starting from electric cables or combustion motors.
3. Obstruction on the Tracks
Foreign objects lying on the railway tracks can cause the derailment of a train. This is what caused the Amtrak train 89 accident on April 3, 2016, when the train struck a backhoe that was obstructing the line. Two railroad construction workers were killed in the accident.
What to Do After a Train Accident?
Injuries suffered in a train accident range from neck, back, shoulder, leg and knee injury to paralysis and brain damage. Following any of the above injuries, you may want nothing more than to recover. Unfortunately, you may find yourself incurring costly medical expenses, lost wages and physical and emotional suffering.
Since numerous factors can lead to a railroad accident, you may find it hard determining who to hold responsible for your pain and suffering. When you add into the mix the comprehensive investigation by the NTSB, state and local agencies, as well as the railroad company’s legal team, things can quickly get complicated.
It is for this reason that you need to seek the counsel of a qualified railroad accident attorney. These experts can work on your behalf to ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation for your loss of income, injuries and pain and …