While trains are some of the safest forms of mass transportation, injuries involving train travel does occur. Given the fast and powerful nature of modern trains, when an accident involves a pedestrian or another vehicle, the results can be deadly. Even train passengers can suffer injuries while riding a train. Any train accident that results in an injury may allow the injured individual to seek compensation for their injuries.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, in 2015, Over 240 people died at public and private train crossings. Almost 970 others were injured in more than 2,000 total collisions. In 2013, the total number of all rail-related accident fatalities reached almost 900. These accidents include cars getting hit by trains, pedestrians hit on the tracks, and employees, contractors, or passengers getting fatally injured in a train accident.
Pedestrian Rail Accidents
People who live around train tracks are used to trains passing by at a close distance. However, every year hundreds of people are injured or killed when walking onto train tracks. Many of these deaths are accidental. In some cases, the pedestrian is listening to music on their headphones and not able to hear the sound of an approaching train. Other people may misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching train, thinking they have time to cross the tracks. Alcohol may also be involved in a number pedestrian rail accidents.
However, some pedestrian rail accidents may be caused by faulty rail equipment. If a crossing gate does not go down or the lights or sounds to not signal a train is passing, the passenger may be unaware that a train is approaching. This may cause them to walk across the tracks and directly into the path of a train, resulting in serious injury or death.
Train and Motor Vehicle Accidents
According to Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization, “the force of a 30-car freight train hitting your car equals the force of your car crushing an aluminum soda can.”
Even if a train clips a corner of a vehicle in its path, the force may be enough to flip the car over and carry it grinding along the tracks. This can result in serious injury or death to the driver and passengers. Even if the passengers survive the accident, the force of the impact may have mangled the vehicle so the passengers cannot get out. The injured occupants may have to wait for emergency crews to cut them out of the vehicle before they can be taken to the hospital. This extra delay could worsen their injuries, and increase the risk of burning injuries, blood loss, and death.
There may be many reasons a car can become involved in an accident with a train. In many cases, it is driver error that leaves them in the path of an oncoming train. Some drivers may try and beat the train by going around the crossing signal. In unprotected intersections, a driver may not see the approaching train or signals. They may be distracted by their phone, texting and driving, or under the influence of alcohol. Once they see the train, it may be too late to stop or avoid the accident.
In other situations, the train conductor may be at fault for the accident. Conductor error, negligence, or distracted operation of the train can increase the chance of injury to passengers and the public. If a train conductor is not safely operating the train, they may be held liable for any injuries that result. Any injured individual may be able to seek compensation for their injuries from the train company as well.
Other accidents may be caused by faulty equipment. The trains safety equipment may malfunction, failing to slow down or stop as the signals require. Rail crossing equipment can also fail, preventing the crossing bar from coming down and failing to warn pedestrians and drivers. In some cases, automobile malfunctions may be to blame for accidents, including events like unintended acceleration or brake failure.
Train Passenger Injuries
Even though passengers are protected in minor accidents by the body of the train, derailment or other serious accidents can result in injury or death for train passengers. This could lead to neck or back injury, broken bones, or head trauma. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a passenger on a train, contact an experienced attorney for help. Your attorney can file a claim so that the train company takes your injury seriously and you will get the compensation you deserve.
Train Accident Lawyers in Washington D.C.
If you or a loved one was injured in a train accident, you should talk to an experienced DC personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Train companies will have lawyers on their side, so it is only fair that you have a personal injury attorney to help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.