The brutal results that a train crash leaves behind is the very reason the term “train wreck” has become a colloquialism for disaster.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (Page 41) there were 13,352 train accidents in the U.S. for 2006. 910 people were killed while 8,349 were injured. You may have heard of personal injury cases for passengers or for the families of the deceased. However, there are also legal options for non-passengers who are still nonetheless injured by a train accident.
Furthermore, of the total 5,800 wrecks nationwide that involve a vehicle-train collision and most take place at railroad crossings. These types of accidents kill 600 people and injure about 2,300. More than 50% of all railroad fatal accidents occur at crossings with passive, or inadequate safety devices (often none at all!).
A train cannot come to a full stop within seconds. A 150-car train traveling at an average speed of 50 miles-per-hour will take over a mile to completely stop. It’s easy for a person to assume that he or she should have known better and should have seen the tracks. However, in the majority of rail crashes and train disasters, people are injured and lose their automobiles because of unprotected crossings or inadequate warning signs. The website quotes statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration, stating that over half of all railroad crossing accidents occur at unprotected crossings. Moreover, 80% of all of these crossings do not have clear and adequate warning signage and gates.
The Federal Railroad Administration has set specific laws regarding high speed trains. For trains traveling less than 110 miles-per-hour, grade crossings are permitted and the state and railroad company must cooperate to determine the best warning device for passersby and motorists. These might include cross bucks, lights or two quadrant gates. For trains traveling at a speed of 110-125 miles-per-house crossing is only allowed if there is an “impenetrable barrier” that physically blocks traffic whenever the train comes by. Finally, for trains traveling at a speed faster than 125 miles-per-hour there are no crossings permitted because of the possibility of vehicle accidents.
Obviously frivolous behavior, such as people playing around railroad tracks when there are clear warnings posted would not qualify as grounds for a vehicle accident lawsuit. However, if a person were not aware of a railroad danger because of inadequate warnings, and were consequently injured or killed because of a train, there could be liability involved. After all, sounds can be distorted or hushed and the “appearance” of a train coming from a distance is not always perceivable to the average person-unless there are adequate warnings in accordance with FRA.
If you or a family member has been injured due to a train accident or railroad crossing accident then contact The Rasansky Law Firm. Contact 1-877-405-4313 to get a free consultation from a train accident attorney on your case. You may be entitled to medical bills and pain and suffering damages, so call now!