There are more than 1,000 train derailments every year in the United States. When a train goes off the rails, the results can be devastating. Hundreds of passengers, crew members, and bystanders can be injured or killed. If there are toxic substances on the train or if the derailment starts a fire, hundreds of people living nearby will be endangered and may have to evacuate.
When a derailment is caused by the negligence of a company or person, the victims of the derailment and their families may be entitled to substantial compensation. The Philadelphia attorneys at Raynes & Lawn have recovered millions of dollars in train accident cases, including a $38 million award for an individual severely injured in a derailment. We invite you to contact us for a free consultation if you or a loved one were injured in a train derailment.
A recent example of a train derailment that caused deaths and injuries is the September 2021 derailment of an Amtrak train near Joplin, Montana. Eight cars of the 10-passenger-car train jumped off the rails, killing three people and injuring more than 50, which was almost a third of the people on board. Unlike many derailments that happen when a train is speeding around a curve, this train was on a straight section of the tracks.
Two of the people killed were a couple who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The other was a young man who had been traveling with his wife. Some of the derailed cars fell over on their sides, sending passengers flying through the cars. Some of the injured passengers had fractured collarbones and ribs. It was a shocking and horrible experience for everyone involved.
At the time this post was written, the cause of the Montana derailment was still being investigated. However, train derailments often happen because somebody was negligent. Derailments can occur because of:
Train driver error: A train can derail if the train driver makes a mistake due to not paying attention, being tired (or even falling asleep), speeding, being impaired, showing poor judgment, not slowing down when going around hazardous curves, ignoring signals, or not being properly trained. Human error is the most common cause of train derailments.
Mechanical failures: The manufacturers of the train engine, other parts of the train, the ties and rails, and the switches may be held responsible if there were manufacturing defects in their products that caused or contributed to a derailment. Faulty equipment is the second-most common cause of train derailments.
Poor maintenance: Another cause of faulty equipment is poor maintenance. Railroad companies are responsible for performing proper maintenance on their trains. The companies that own and operate the tracks (which may or may not be the same companies that own the trains) are responsible for keeping the tracks in a safe condition. Derailments may occur due to poor maintenance of rails, welds, trains, signals, or switches, or failure to keep the tracks free of obstructions.
Drivers at crossings: Drivers of cars or trucks who fail to properly stop at train crossings when a train is coming can cause a collision that throws the train off the tracks.
When you board a train, you entrust your life to the companies that manufacture, own, and operate the trains and the tracks. These companies not only have a moral obligation to take reasonable steps to protect the safety of the train’s passengers and crew, but they have a legal obligation to do so as well.
If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a train derailment, it’s only fair that you receive compensation from the company whose negligence caused the accident. The law provides a way for you to seek justice from companies that failed to perform their legal duties. Find out more by talking to an experienced train derailment attorney at Raynes & Lawn.
Train derailments often cause fatal injuries. People who are injured but survive the accidents may have any level of injuries, including severe injuries that can cause lifelong impairments. In addition to physical injuries, psychological trauma is also common. Train derailment injuries include:
Severe injuries from train derailments may require treatment and cause impairments for a long time — possibly for the rest of your life. An experienced train accident lawyer from Raynes & Lawn can fight for your right to receive fair compensation.
The more severe your injuries, the higher the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Compensation may include:
If a family member was killed in a train derailment, you may be able to sue for wrongful death to seek compensation for medical and funeral expenses and for the loss of your family member’s companionship, affection, and support.
Train derailment cases are complex cases where a lot is at stake. The insurance companies will try to pay as little as possible. An experienced train accident attorney will stand up to the insurance companies on your behalf and ensure that you get everything that you are entitled to. The Raynes & Lawn law firm has been recognized locally and nationally for our dedication to clients and for our outstanding results, including a $38 million award for a software executive injured in a train derailment. To set up a free consultation and case evaluation, fill out our contact form or call us at (800) 535-1797.
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