Trains are an essential part of everyday life, and the American economy is very dependent upon them. They are affordable, efficient, and leave a small carbon footprint. But what happens when the unthinkable happens, and your everyday life is disrupted because of a devastating train accident?
The concept of the railroad system started in the early 1800s and has since become the vast working system we know today. Millions of Americans utilize rail transportation to get from point A to point B, whether it be for the daily work commute from the suburbs into the city or for traveling longer distances.
Rail transportation isn’t just limited to transporting people, however. Freight trains also operate daily as an inexpensive method of carrying large quantities of cargo across long distances. Amtrak, a national rail operator, runs through a total of 46 states with over 21,000 miles of rails, making it possible to go or transport cargo virtually anywhere in the nation.
With all of the people and goods traveling across the country, train accidents do, unfortunately, occur. When they do, the consequences can be catastrophic. People who have been injured or know someone who has been injured in a train accident often have a lot of questions about what happened and what they should do next.
Why Do Train Accidents Happen?
You’ve most likely heard about train accidents happening every once in a while. The truth is that there are more train accidents than you may think. Each year, there are close to 3,000 train accidents that result in around1,000 deaths. Due to the large size of a train, even a minor train accident can cause severe damage, which can result in life-threatening injuries or death.
What causes these devastating train accidents? Train accidents may be caused by the negligence of the railroad company, with examples including unkempt railroad tracks that need repair, traveling at dangerous speeds around curves, and fatigued or distracted engineers operating the train. Other causes of train accidents may include derailments, a train crashing into another train on the tracks, a train striking a car, and railroad crossing accidents. All of these mistakes can result in devastating consequences that could cause damage not only to the train but also to everyone on board. Even innocent bystanders or nearby buildings could be subject to the devastation of a train derailing and careening off the tracks.
What to Do After a Train Accident?
One of the first steps you should take after a train accident is to seek medical attention. Usually, an ambulance will arrive shortly after the collision, and emergency medical technicians will evaluate and treat victims, or potentially transport them to a nearby hospital. Be sure to take full advantage of getting a medical evaluation, even if you feel that you are not hurt. Some injuries do not manifest symptoms right away. It is also essential to document that you have sought medical attention. Documentation can include medical reports and doctor’s bills.
If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, you should do so as fast as possible. Too many times, victims decide to wait on filing a lawsuit, without realizing there is a statute of limitations. Waiting too long could make your case invalid. You will also need an attorney by your side because the railroad company will have a group of lawyers ready to fight your claim. Again, please do not delay, because as soon as an accident has happened, the railroad attorneys will be working on getting evidence and building their defense against you.
Injuries and Damages Caused by a Train Accident
While many train accidents result in death, even minor accidents can leave a person with life-threatening injuries. Here are some common injuries that may result from train accidents:
- loss of limbs
- broken bones
- severe burns
- injuries to the spinal cord
- traumatic brain injuries
- severe contusions
- severe lacerations
If you are suffering from injuries due to a train accident, it is important to fight to get the compensation you deserve. In the case of a loved one who died in a train accident, justice is particularly important, and the responsible party should be held accountable.
Who is Responsible for My Train Accident Injuries?
Train accident claims may involve multiple responsible parties and may even require an investigation to see who is at fault. It is vital to have an attorney by your side to ensure your rights are protected. An attorney will be able to assist in investigating and gathering evidence to support your claim.
Types of Train Accidents
Railroad Crossing Accidents
Many train accidents occur at railroad crossings and usually involve a vehicle getting struck by the train, although sometimes it is a pedestrian who is hit. Other causes of railroad crossing accidents include:
- Defective signals
- Malfunctioning gates
- Trains’ failure to use lights when approaching a crossing
- Objects protruding from the train
- Lack of proper signage at crossings
Derailments can cause the most damage when it comes to train accidents. A derailed train can spill cargo, and hit pedestrians, vehicles, houses, and whatever else may be in its way. Sometimes, a derailed train may even catch fire. Derailments may be caused by failure to follow safety standards, but also may be caused by:
- faulty tracks
- faulty safety equipment
- too heavy of a cargo load
Not every train accident is caused by a collision or a derailment. The accident may be caused by a pedestrian standing too close to the tracks or tripping and falling onto them.
What is certain is that any accident involving a train requires the expertise of an accident attorney to navigate through the challenging legal system that surrounds these incidents.
How can a train accident attorney help me?
Being the victim of a train accident can be overwhelming. You need to focus on your recovery, but medical bills pile up quickly, and the responsible party or parties need to be held accountable for your pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a train accident, fill out our contact form today at rayneslaw.com or call us at (800) 535-1797 to schedule a consultation. One of the experienced train accident attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer will be in touch to discuss your potential claim and any compensation to which you may be entitled.
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