TRAIN DERAILMENTDemanding Justice for Victims of Derailment

Train Derailment Accident Attorneys

Train derailments are events where the wheels or bearings of a rail car detach from the rail tracks. This renders an engineer unable to brake or control the train, leading to potentially devastating crashes and casualties.

Most children have heard the dubious “fact” that a single penny placed on the train track can cause the whole train to fly off the rails. While it takes more than that to knock a train off course, train derailments are both dangerous and more common than you might think. According to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis, there are over 1,000 train derailments every year. Of those, 400 are caused by track defects, and between 550 and 600 are caused by human error. If you’ve been harmed in a train derailment accident, Arnold & Itkin want to hear your story. Our firm has spent the last several years winning landmark cases and record-setting verdicts for injured clients. All told, we have won billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements because we believe in a simple truth: companies should be accountable to the people they hurt.

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The Causes of Trail Derailments

Research about how and why trains derail has revealed some interesting truths. For one, speed and human error are the leading factors behind derailment. Trains that travel faster than 10 mph are more likely to derail; however, under that speed, human error is the leading cause.

Train derailment has several known causes, including the following:

  • Excessive speed
  • Misaligned or broken rails
  • Conductor negligence
  • Collision with another object
  • Sharp turning curves
  • Broken gauges
  • Defective rails, rail gaps, & welds
  • Switching rule violations
  • Improper train handling
  • Broken wheel or bearing at high speeds

In some cases, a train may collide with another vehicle, such as a car, at a railroad crossing. The collision thrusts the train off the tracks, and the train destroys the vehicle in its path. Some railroad crossings are remote, but other railroad crossings may be in downtown metropolis areas. If a train derails in these areas, they could run into buildings and injure a significant amount of people and deal even more financial damage.

Injuries from Train Derailment

Though train derailment is not as common as car crashes, a single incident has far more casualties than the average auto collision. For example, a train derailment from early 2017 in Brooklyn left 103 people injured. Another incident in May 2015 killed 8 people and injured over 200 in Philadelphia. When hundreds of tons of steel and diesel engine run off the rails at 40-50 mph, the effects are bound to be devastating.

Serious injuries that can result from train derailments include:

  • Broken bones
  • Broken ribs
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations / loss of limb
  • Internal bleeding
  • Sprained joints
  • Concussions

Periodic inspections can detect defective ladders and scaffolds or defects in equipment such as cranes. Inspections can also reveal whether workers are operating machines properly or following safety protocol, such as using personal protective equipment or safety guards.

That’s why firms like us exist—to keep them accountable to you.

Why Is an Injured Passenger Entitled to Compensation?

Negligence is almost always the reason why a train derails from its track. If an object is on the track that shouldn’t be there, the object’s owner could be held liable for the train’s derailment. If the conductor is speeding and the train derails, the train company will be held liable for the accident. If the train has mechanical issues, the train owner may be the one held responsible for the incident.

When misaligned train tracks are involved in a derailment, negligence will fall on one of two entities depending on the scenario. If an entity privately owned a piece of track, then the entity that owns the track will be held responsible for negligent ownership of their railroad asset. If a public corporation owns the track, the entity that runs the track will be held liable, and stockholders may see a decrease in share prices.

Train Accident Lawyers Can Help

Recovering financial compensation in a train accident can be especially difficult because each injury case will vary by the specific injuries that a claimant sustains and the conditions of the accident that caused the derailment. For those on a passenger train, you will need the help of an experienced attorney to make your claim known while the Federal Railroad Administration looks into the cause of the accident.

For railroad workers and families of workers who have sustained an injury or wrongful death due to a derailed train at their job site, an attorney will help you understand the options you have to file a claim that fits under the correct filing subheading and requests a just amount of compensation. Train accidents are considered to be extremely lethal, and for this reason, local and federal agencies almost always investigate the collisions. Additionally, the train company will also look into the cause of the accident to identify what went wrong.

With all of these investigations, train accident cases can be very easy to pursue thanks to the agencies that collect this vast amount of data. Therefore, workers and civilians who are injured by train derailments should always file an injury claim to secure the financial compensation that they are due. To learn more about your rights after being involved in a train derailment accident, call now.

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