In railway accidents, various entities may be found negligent. For example, sometimes a train company still uses out-of-date railroad and mechanical equipment. Other accidents are caused by operator or employee errors. Government organizations or municipalities might be found negligent if there isn’t adequate signaling, lights, or gates at railroad and roadway crossings. Alternatively, an equipment manufacturer may have contributed to the accident.
An experienced train accident attorney understands how to gather detailed evidence, use expert witnesses, and retain other facts to prove negligence and hold the party responsible for justifiable compensation to injured individuals.
Railway Accidents Caused by Negligence
Train accidents are less common than other forms of transportation accidents, which may explain why they’re not always considered a major concern. But there are hundreds of thousands of miles of track and more than 200,000 railroad crossings in the U.S.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the railroad industry continues to pursue the ultimate objective of zero total accidents. The agency has a multifaceted safety plan merging the aspects of:
- Continued investment
- Partnerships with local authorities
- Deployment of updated technology
- Full integration of positive train controls (PTC) to prevent derailments, train-to-train collisions, and other catastrophic accidents
- Operational improvements
The intent of measures like these is to address more persistent challenges, such as incidents caused by human error and at grade crossings with highways. However, while there’s superior technology and training available to improve railway safety, its implementation is often delayed due to its high cost.
Depending on the type of accident, additional examples of railroad negligence include, but aren’t limited to:
- Broken or defective crossing lights, gates, and other warning devices
- Corrosion of and fractures in couplings and rails
- Dangerous conditions on the tracks
- Failure to repair trains and tracks
- Inadequate or missing warnings signs
- Mechanical failures, such as defective brakes
- Mishandling of toxic chemicals
- Operator negligence, including distraction, harsh handling, intoxication, and speeding
Motorists also have a responsibility to obey all traffic laws and warning signals at train crossings.
Injuries Due to Negligence in Railway Accidents
Most railroad accidents result in severe injuries and even fatalities. Common injuries include:
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve and spinal problems
- Psychological trauma
- Respiratory problems from smoke inhalation
- Traumatic brain injury
No entity wants to be held accountable for such a catastrophic event, and many insurers or other conglomerates will fight relentlessly to deny or reduce your claims. You deserve skilled legal representation that will be vigilant in proving negligence in your railway accident and defending your right to financial recovery.