Failure to sound the whistle at a crossing is just one of many reasons why a car is not always at fault in a railroad accident.
Railroad Crossing Accidents
Train accidents claim more than 900 lives across the United States each year. Thousands more are left with life-altering injuries that demand immediate and extensive medical treatment. Here in Texas, we see numerous victims left permanently disabled as a result of train accidents. Each year, more than 150 train accidents take place throughout our state. The number of accidents continues to rise, despite the advancement in safety measures to protect drivers throughout the state.
Train accidents often leave victims with overwhelming pain and suffering. The mental and physical consequences are often substantial. The financial burdens resulting from these accidents not only impact victims, but their families often suffer as well. If you were injured in a train accident, it is crucial that you reach out to a Dallas train accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation to help alleviate the financial burdens you face moving forward.
The personal injury attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm in Dallas have decades of experience helping train accident victims recover. Our attorneys wholeheartedly believe victims should never be forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on medical treatment and other costs due to the negligence of others. For this reason, we provide effective legal representation to ensure our clients are able to maximize their recoveries and hold wrongdoers accountable. Contact the Dallas personal injury attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm as soon as possible to see how we can help you.
Train Accidents in Texas
A train wreck is indeed a catastrophic event, one that often leaves horrific wreckage behind and causes multiple injuries with a high number of fatalities. In fact, many states have passed criminal penalties and will impose felony convictions, including life imprisonment sentences, against any individual who intentionally tampers with the normal function of a train which causes the death or injury of others.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration reports that there are close to 14,000 train wrecks annually. Of these train accidents, approximately 850 people die each year and another 9,500 people are injured. These statistics indicate that train wrecks, railroad crossing accidents, deaths, and injuries due to collisions between trains and cars are not all that rare or unexplainable. Of the states with the highest number of train track fatalities, Texas ranks #2 with 41 deaths in 2014 alone, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Our Dallas train wreck lawyers have seen accidents caused by the following common reasons:
- Collisions with other vehicles on the track
- Collisions with other trains
- Mechanical Failure – crossing bar not working or crossing lights burnt out or inoperable
- Conductor Incompetence or error – failure to sound whistle at railroad crossing
- Boiler Explosion
In a very large number of cases, the typical train accident is not due to an unpredictable or unforeseen disaster, but because of the negligence or carelessness on the part of the railroad company, the fault of its management, train conductor, or switch operator.
Common Causes of Train Accidents in Texas
Although there are a plethora of causes for train accidents in our state, there are three areas that seem to be the center of most personal injury lawsuits we handle. The three main areas of train accidents include instances of:
- Improper Mechanical Maintenance: Trains are extremely large and heavy. The massive weight of these vehicles means that it is critical that they have functioning brakes and other critical parts. When owners and operators fail to maintain their trains, verify the effectiveness of brakes, and inspect the trains routinely, it can lead to accidents. Mechanical failures can prevent trains from stopping in time to avoid a collision, which can result in a catastrophic and life-altering accident.
- Defective Crossing Guards: Crossing guards are in place to warn drivers of oncoming trains. When crossing guards fail to operate accurately, drivers may enter into the path of a train. In Texas, there are many areas that lack crossing guards. In some cases, especially high-risk areas, the local government may assume some liability if they fail to address the issue.
- Overloaded Cargo: There are strict regulations surrounding how much cargo a train can carry. If the load is beyond the maximum capacity, it can lead to trains derailing. This can result in a catastrophic collision, which may be fatal for those involved. Under normal circumstances, trains need approximately a half-mile distance to come to a stop. When cargo is overloaded, it can dramatically increase the required length and make the circumstances surrounding the stop dangerous for nearby vehicles or pedestrians.
Driver inattention and distraction is the most commonly cited factor in train accidents throughout our state. It is imperative that an official investigation is performed to determine what actually happened and what factors contributed to the accident. There are many instances where malfunctioning gate arms, high grades, and other factors influence accidents with trains.
There are several recommendations from the Texas Department of Transportation that aim to help keep drivers safe at train crossing areas. These tips include:
- Reducing the speed of your vehicle when approaching a designated crossing area
- Turning down music and checking both directions before crossing the tracks
- Do not cross the railroad tracks when red lights are crossing or in circumstances where crossing arms are lowered
- Do not stop on train tracks for any reason
- Make sure all train tracks are clear before proceeding through the crossing area
Laws in Texas provide that drivers are required to yield the right of way to trains at all times. Additionally, it is against the law to cross-train tracks in circumstances where trains are visible to you. You are never allowed to pass a lowered gate arm in a train crossing area. If the crossing guard arms are broken, the road is to be considered closed and you must seek an alternate route through the area.
If you were injured in a train accident, or a loved one lost their life in a train accident, it is imperative that you reach out to a personal injury attorney in Dallas as soon as possible. You may have legal options available to help you move forward.
Common Circumstances Surrounding Train Accidents in Texas
There are a plethora of circumstances surrounding train accidents in Texas. There are many instances where innocent victims suffer from injuries caused by these accidents due to another person’s negligence. Some of the most common situations surrounding train accidents in Dallas include:
- Cars, bicycles, and pedestrians being involved in railroad crossing accidents
- Freight train collisions
- Accidents involving passenger trains, either alone or with other vehicles involved
- Dallas Area Rapid Transit trains crashing into other vehicles or people on tracks
- People being injured while loading or unloading from the train or while on-board
- Ticket holders being injured after falling off train platforms
Regardless of the scenario behind your accident and injuries, it is imperative that you have a responsive and knowledgeable Dallas train accident lawyer on your side to navigate the complex legal system. The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm have decades of experience settling claims and presenting cases to judges and juries throughout Texas. If you were injured in a train accident, contact our law firm to see how we can help you.
How Often do Train Accidents Occur?
Texas has the most railroad crossings in the entire country. The second leading state, Illinois, has approximately 20% less. The state of Texas is home to nearly 15,000 miles of train tracks and around 10,000 railroad crossing areas. Statistics collected by the Texas Department of Transportation show that between 2005 and 2009, roughly 1330 people were involved in collisions across our state. These accidents occurred at 1,044 public grade crossing areas. Of the total number of accidents:
- 5% or 472 accidents involved a passenger vehicle
- 25% or 335 accidents involved pickup trucks
- 21% or 282 accidents involved semi-trucks with attached trailers
- 7% or 89 accidents involved large trucks
- 5% or 70 accidents involved smaller vehicles, ATVs, or ride-on lawnmowers
Texas train accidents claimed the lives of 14 people while leaving more than 180 others injured. Over half of these accidents occurred at unprotected crossing areas. Regrettably, the state of Texas still has more than 300 unprotected crossing areas or railroad crossing locations without guards. This dramatically increases the risk of drivers or individuals being involved in life-altering accidents. If you were injured in a train accident, contact our personal injury attorneys in Texas to discuss the circumstances surrounding your claim to determine what legal options are available for you.
Passengers are Afforded the Highest Degree of Care
A railroad company owes its passengers that travel on the train the highest degree of safety, protection, and care. This trust cannot be breached or violated. If you and/or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a train accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Let our experienced train wreck lawyers get to work immediately on your train crash case today.
Railroad Employees are Protected
Ever since the late 1800s, since the peak of the industrial revolution, the American government has tried to protect the railroad employees. Eventually, the Federal Employers Liability Act or FELA was passed, which required the railroad companies to protect and compensate their employees if they are injured on the job. Our train crash attorneys know what it takes to protect railroad employee rights following an accident.
Laws Are Complex
Railroad accidents and the laws surrounding these types of cases are complex. You should never assume that a railroad crossing accident was your fault. If you are injured as a result of a train accident (even a TRE accident) either as a passenger, railroad employee, or because you were involved in a railroad crossing accident, you need an experienced train wreck lawyer who can walk you through the process and explain your legal rights. These accidents must be handled differently from traditional car accidents. If you have been injured or have had a family member killed in a train accident, then it’s time to take decisive action. Call Rasansky Law Firm for a FREE consultation!
Speak With a Dallas Accident Attorney For Free
According to statistics, roughly every 1.5 hours, a train accident occurred or derails somewhere in the United States. These accidents leave numerous people with life-altering injuries every day. Victims involved in train accidents are likely to require extensive medical treatment and often endure injuries that lead to permanent disabilities and overwhelming pain and suffering. It is crucial that anyone injured in an accident reaches out to a train accident attorney in Dallas as soon as possible to ensure their legal rights are protected.
For nearly three decades, the attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm have helped thousands of people protect their legal rights and maximize their recoveries after being injured in train accidents. Our team conducts independent investigations into each accident, gathers extensive evidence, and ensures each client is in the best position possible to protect their legal rights after being harmed by others. Our attorneys provide effective, responsive, and competent legal representation to assist our clients in reaching their goals throughout their recoveries.
If you were injured in a train accident, as a result of another person’s reckless or negligent actions, contact our Dallas train accident lawyers as soon as possible.
Speak With a Dallas Train Accident Attorney For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.