Many different factors can lead to train accidents, and sometimes there is more than one cause. Injuries can be catastrophic or fatal in these crashes because of the weight and speed of trains.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reports that there are six primary categories of things that can lead to train accidents, which include:
- Problems with the trackbed, roadbed, and structures
- Signal and communication errors
- Mechanical and electrical failures
- Train operation – the human factor
- Problems with the handling equipment, switches, and derailments
- Miscellaneous causes not otherwise stated
From news reports, we see that accidents also happen when pedestrians fall onto tracks or are walking on tracks. Wearing headsets and being distracted can contribute to these tragic incidents. When warning gates and signals fail, people driving cars and trucks might not clear railroad track crossings in time, with fatal consequences.
When it comes to derailments, the causes are split about equally between problems with the track, the equipment, and human factors.
Common Train Accident Scenarios
Injuries involving trains can happen in many different situations, which can include:
- Pedestrians walking on train tracks or bridges. The railroad company needs to take reasonable measures to protect people from harm.
- The engineer (train driver) was inexperienced or had insufficient training. The train company can be liable.
- The engineer was driving too fast for the conditions. The individual train driver can be liable, and possibly the train company.
- The engineer was distracted, drowsy, or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The individual train driver and railroad company can be liable.
- The railroad crossing lacked warning lights or safety gates, or this equipment was defective. Liability will depend on whose carelessness contributed to the situation.
- The train experienced mechanical failures. The train manufacturer, owner, or maintenance company can be responsible.
- The train tracks or rails had poor design or maintenance. The railroad company, installation firm, design, or maintenance entity could face liability.
- A train passenger fell when entering or exiting the train. Responsibility will depend on the facts of the case.
- A passenger tripped or slipped and fell inside a train or train station because of garbage, debris or slippery floors. The train company and maintenance firm can be liable.
Unique Challenges of Train Accident Injury Cases
With so many potential defendants, train accident cases can be complex. Also, government agencies own or operate many trains. Different rules apply when you make an injury claim against the government.
At the Montero Law Center, we investigate every train accident case we handle to find the cause of the incident. We have the experience to take on cases involving the government and large corporations. We will gather the evidence needed to build your claim and work hard to get you all the compensation you deserve.
Getting Legal Help for Your Train Accident Injury Claim
We handle train injury claims on a contingent fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay upfront legal fees. We do not get paid until you win, and then our fees come out of the settlement or award. When we take care of your legal matters, you can devote your attention and energy to getting better.
Call us today at 954-767-6500 for a free consultation.