Despite the declining use of the rails, railroad accidents continue to injure and kill innocent people and railroad workers. Almost 20,000 train accidents have happened in the United States since 2000. While some railroad accidents yield minor injuries, in other cases they can be deadly.
Thousands of injuries or deaths
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, more than 5,000 people have died in situations involving the railroad and roughly 60,000 more have been injured in the past seven years.
People are not always harmed in an actual railroad accident involving a collision or derailment. However, physical train accidents are a common occurrence in the U.S. Since 2000, the number of total railroad accidents has remained steady even though railroad use has continued to drop. [Timeline of events]
Workers on America’s railroad industry are protected by the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) in the event they are injured on the job. FELA makes it easier for these workers to recover damages and medical expenses for their injuries when they are hurt in an accident, exposed to toxic chemicals or other hazards of the railroad.
Causes of railroad accidents
Many things can cause a railroad accident. The train track can cause a railroad accident by creating a derailment. In these cases, the train slips from the track and collides with another train or bystanders. The train operator may be at fault if he is not adequately prepared to guide the train and is not doing everything possible to avoid a railroad accident.
If a railroad crossing is not maintained sufficiently, an accident is also more likely to occur. This happens when signs are not working properly or there is an object obstructing the view of the train, passing vehicle or person. Other causes of railroad accidents include collisions with another train, poorly maintained tracks, derailment, mechanical failure and driver inexperience or fatigue.
The legal implications can be very complex for individuals who are considering a railroad accident lawsuit. If you or a loved one has suffered a railroad injury, call the lawyers at Hissey Kientz. Fill out a free online case evaluation to the right of this page, or call us toll-free at (866) 275-4454.