Compared to cars, buses, or other forms of road transportation, trains appear to be relatively safe. After all, they run on dedicated tracks, and their speed can be controlled with the push of a button. However, every year, hundreds of people are hit by trains, thousands of people are injured in car accidents with a train, and other are injured as passengers on the train. Even minor train accident injuries can result in expensive medical bills and lost income. If you have been injured in a train accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Train and Car Accidents
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) tracks train accidents, injuries and deaths for the nation's railroads. According to FRA statistics, in 2015, there were more than 2,000 train collisions with vehicles at railroad crossings. Those collisions resulted in 967 injuries and 244 deaths. A person or vehicle is hit by a train almost every three hours in this country.
The mass and speed of a train hitting a car can result in death or serious injuries to anyone inside the vehicle. According to Operation Lifesaver, a rail safety education group, the force of a freight train hitting your car is equivalent to your car running over an aluminum soda can. In a car accident with a train, a motorist is 20 times more likely to die than in a collision with another vehicle.
There are many causes of train and car accidents. This includes driver error, train conductor negligence, railroad crossing signal malfunctions, and vehicle defects or malfunctions. If a train conductor is not operating the train with due care, they may be responsible for causing a train accident. A speeding train may take longer to stop, which could prevent a train from slowing down upon seeing a disabled car on the tracks. Even at a reduced speed, a train hitting a car could crush the vehicle, trapping the occupants inside.
In some cases, a railroad signal may malfunction and a driver may cross the tracks unaware that a train is coming. A car hit by a full speed train will likely result in death to the driver and passengers. In this type of accident, whoever was behind the malfunctioning signal may be liable for the accident.
Train Pedestrian Accidents
Most fatal accidents caused by trains involve people walking along or across train tracks. Some people cross train tracks as a shortcut, to avoid walking a long way to the nearest crossing. People can be distracted by headphones or loud music, unaware that a train is approaching. Pedestrian and train collisions almost always result in death.
Train Passenger Injuries
Train travel for passengers is generally safe. However, every year passengers are injured on trains. This could include tripping on the gap between the platform and the train, a slip and fall inside the train, or being thrown to the ground by a swaying train. This could lead to neck or back injury, broken bones, or head injury. Even what seems like a minor injury could get worse over time. This is why it is important to seek medical attention if you are injured as a train passenger, to make sure a more serious injury does not go undiagnosed.
For people who suffer these types of injuries, the train company may not take their claim very seriously. They may try and blame the injury on the individual, and not take responsibility for letting a hazard go unchecked. In many cases, the company may be aware of these types of dangers, but do nothing to remedy the problem. If you have suffered an injury as a passenger on a train, contacting an experienced attorney can help. Your attorney can file a claim so that the train company takes your injury seriously.
Train Accident Lawsuits
Filing a lawsuit after a train accident can be more complicated than dealing with a regular car accident. Most train accident claims include multiple defendants. Defendants in a train accident lawsuit could include the conductor, the train company, as well as local, state, and federal agencies. The train companies involved could include foreign corporations, that may require filing in a federal court.
Additionally, lawsuits against government agencies and employees may have different filing requirements. This generally includes a notice requirement. The statute of limitations provides for a time limit for when you can file a legal claim. However, the government's notice time limit may be shorter. Talk to your attorney about your case, to make sure you can file your claim in time, identify all the necessary parties, and file the case in the proper court.
Train Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one was injured in a train accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland 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.