Although many people think catastrophic derailments are the only type of train and railway accident, even minor crashes can cause major injuries. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railway Administration, approximately 8,000 injuries and 700 fatalities happen annually. Understanding the typical reasons for railway accidents helps individuals harmed by negligence or mechanical malfunctions build a case for proper compensation that helps with financial recovery.
Common Causes of Railway Accidents
Numerous train and rail accidents occur as a result of avoidable human mistakes or faulty equipment/machinery including, but not limited to:
- Mechanical or electrical failure of a train or track
- Structural faults in a track
- Operator error
- Outdated technology
- Unprotected railroad crossings
- Communication failures, such as signaling errors
But there’s often conflict in railway accident claims. For example, in July 2022, an Amtrak train collided with a concrete truck in Mendon, Missouri, a disaster that killed four people—including the truck driver—and injured around 150 more.
The BNSF Railway Firm and Amtrak stated in a lawsuit that the train was plainly visible and that the truck driver was careless, passing visible safety line markers at the railway. However, at the crossing where the tragedy happened, officials alleged there were no signals, lights, or gates to warn others on the roadway of an oncoming train. Residents and a government traffic safety organization had voiced concerns about the crossing’s safety before the catastrophe, describing it as extremely steep and improperly-equipped.
Those injured in railway accidents, as well as surviving family members of the deceased, must identify all culpable parties and file a claim against them before the statute of limitations expires.
Injuries in Train Accidents are Often Severe
Unfortunately, victims of such occurrences often have life-threatening injuries or die as a result of their accidents. Everyone from train operators, linemen, and passengers to motorists, pedestrians, and spectators can experience serious medical conditions, such as:
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fractured bones
- Nerve and spinal problems
- Organ damage
- Psychological damage
Individuals involved in train explosions might also suffer grave burns, as well as respiratory issues from smoke inhalation, especially from poisonous substances.
Tragically, train and railway accidents may also be fatal. Seeking justice in a wrongful death lawsuit requires a skilled train accident attorney who can establish all points of evidence and prove negligence so a grieving family receives proper compensation. While this can never make up for the loss of a loved one, financial recovery can help remove the burden of mounting medical bills, loss of income, and other necessary considerations.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Kansas City Train Crash
If a railway accident has had a significant impact on your life, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately. Their expertise in this area of law mitigates the complications for you.
For example, if a government-owned railway is at fault, the injured party may be compelled to deliver specific notice of the claim to the agency within a set time frame, sometimes as short as one or two months. Or injured train workers might need help navigating the guidelines established by the Federal Employers Liability Act, which helps both victims and their families with compensation and other benefits.