There are about 3,000 train accidents that result in about 1,000 deaths each year. Even a “minor” incident with a train can cause catastrophic injury or death due to the massive size and weight of the locomotive. Train accident lawsuits are complicated, often involving multiple responsible parties, and train accidents are subject to different laws, standards, and statutes of limitations than most vehicle accident lawsuits.
Train accident victims
A train accident can affect just one person, such as when someone slips off a platform and is run over by a train, or they can affect an entire community such as with a toxic chemical spill. When passenger trains derail, there are often hundreds of victims. You may remember the train collision in California in September 2008 in which a Metrolink engineer was texting on his cell phone right before the train collided with another train. Twenty-five people were killed and over a hundred people were injured.
Train accident victims can include:
- Train passengers
- Pedestrians and bystanders
- Drivers and passengers of other vehicles
- Railroad workers
Types of train accidents
Train accidents can be caused by a number of factors including:
- Train/train collisions
- Train/car collisions
- Railroad crossing accidents
- Railroad accidents
Railroad crossing accidents
Railroad crossing accidents can involve cars or trucks being struck or pedestrians being run over. People have even been known to take their own lives by parking on a railroad crossing and waiting for a train. Common causes of railroad crossing accidents include:
- Defective signals or gates
- Trains that fail to sound their horns when approaching crossings
- Trains that fail to use their lights when approaching crossings
- Trains parked too close to a crossing
- Crossings obstructed by plants and other objects
- Objects protruding from the train
Derailments cause the most widespread damage. Train derailments are almost always the result of failure to follow established safety standards but may also be caused by:
- Faulty tracks
- Obstacles on the tracks
- Faulty equipment
- Too much cargo weight
Train accidents do not always involve a collision or derailment. Pedestrians and bystanders can slip and fall under trains and be crushed. Any lawsuit where a train or railroad is involved requires the special expertise of an experienced train accident attorney.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a train accident, you need to consider enlisting the help of experienced and knowledgeable train accident attorneys like the ones at The Cochran Firm, serving clients in many offices nationwide.