According to the Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration, more than 2,500 train accidents occur each year in the United States. Due to the high speeds at which trains travel and the weight and force behind collisions, train accidents are often very destructive, with many being deadly. A number of individuals can be injured by trains: passengers, railroad workers, drivers or passengers of vehicles hit at a railroad crossing, pedestrians, and bystanders. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a train accident in Houston contact a lawyer at McDonald Worley. We offer a free consultation and will review the facts of your case to see what legal options you have.
Many times, these accidents occur due to crossings that are improperly marked or unlighted. Occasionally, the train engineer or the railroad company is negligent and found to be responsible for the accident.
Statistics surrounding railroad crossing accidents indicate:
- Approximately every 2 weeks in the United States, a train carrying hazardous material goes off the tracks.
- For the most part, railroad companies still rely on technology that was developed more than 70 years ago.
- More than 50% of all railroad accidents occur at unprotected crossings.
- According to the Federal Railroad Administration, more than 80% of all railroad crossings have inadequate warning devices.
- Although statistics show that “vehicle v. train collisions” have decreased in the last few years, “pedestrian v. train collisions” have increased.
- Every 90 minutes there is a train collision or derailment.
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Conditions Potentially Leading To Train Accidents
Certain circumstances surrounding a railroad crossing accident may be present and may include any of the following:
Dangerous Conditions at the Railroad Crossing:
- Gates for railroad crossings may be missing or broken
- Lights for railroad crossings may be missing or broken
- Railroad crossing signs may be partially or completely covered by tree overgrowth, leaves, or buses.
- Sign for railroad crossing may be missing or broken
- Signal for railroad crossing may be missing or broken
- Warning for railroad crossing may be improperly marked or missing on road
Negligence on Behalf of Employees:
- Engineer of train or railroad employees may be overtired, asleep, careless, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Engineer may fail to sound the horn signal when approaching
- Excessive speed of train (or speed limit set too high for safety)
- Inspection and maintenance may not be properly performed on train, tracks, or rail
- Switching of train/rail carried out improperly
Types of Railroad Crossing Accidents
Several types of accidents can occur at railroad crossings, with car/train accidents being the most common in Houston, Texas.
Car/ Train Accidents
When learning of a train collision with a car, railroad companies are quick to assume the driver of the vehicle was at fault, however, in many cases, the company is found to have been negligent and responsible for the injury. Automobiles typically weigh 1 to 2 tons, and trains average 125-250 tons, with some weighing more than 700 tons, and the damage done to vehicles and occupants is massive. It is crucial to call a car accident lawyer after being involved in an accident with a train while in your vehicle.
Pedestrian/ Train Accidents
Serious injury or death typically results when there is a railroad collision involving a pedestrian. Many pedestrian accidents are blamed on careless behavior or trespassing, and also on pedestrian suicide. After further investigation, the evidence in railroad crossing injury cases often points to the negligence of the engineer or improperly maintained railroad crossings.
Train/ Train Accidents
Train accidents involving another train are the least common type of train crashes. However, when they happen, they can be among the most fatal for the greatest number of people. It is typically easiest to prove the railroad company or companies were at fault in these types of cases due to the nature of the accident.
Truck/ Train Accidents
Just like with car accidents, trucks, even commercial and construction vehicles are no match for a fast-moving, heavy train. Accidents involving trucks tend to be just as devastating and deadly as train accidents with cars and smaller vehicles.
Train derailments can lead to serious injury and death of hundreds of passengers and railroad workers. Many investigations into train derailment accidents have found that the railroad company was acting negligently in some way, from equipment issues to mechanical failures and employee negligence.
Determining Who is at Fault
There are some scenarios where it seems obvious that a vehicle driver or pedestrian should have known better and seemed clearly at fault. But it has been found that train engineers did not always do everything they could to avoid an accident and were found to not have taken reasonable and appropriate actions to avoid an accident, and the vehicle drivers are not always found to be at fault.
Plaintiffs who go on to file train injury lawsuits may name a variety of Defendants in their lawsuit, including the train company, train manufacturers, property owners of locations that are considered dangerous, drivers of other vehicles or any other person or party that may have been at fault contributing to the accident.
Get Help From Experienced Train Accident Lawyers
If you were hurt, due to a collision or other type of accident involving a train, having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your team can make all the difference in your fight for justice. The best accident attorneys know every case is unique, and the outcome of a lawsuit can hinge upon small details which can be easily overlooked.
Additionally, your personal injury lawsuit is about more than just monetary compensation. When you’ve been hurt or affected by a serious accident, justice matters. Holding the party accountable for any negligence or liability is a part of helping you recover.
Share what happened in your case with our award-winning trial attorneys at McDonald Worley, get answers to your legal questions and find out how we can help you achieve rapid recovery and swift justice today.