Train and railroad accidents are devastating events that can easily result in serious injuries or death. In 2005 alone, there were nearly 3,200 train accidents in the United States, which resulted in at least 33 fatalities and more than 730 injuries. The majority of these accidents involved train derailments, collisions with passenger vehicles or tractor trailers, and wrecks with other trains.
Free Train & Railroad Accident Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a train, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.
What’s the problem?
Millions of Americans use trains each and every day. Whether headed just across town to work, or all the way around the country, the train is universally recognized as a cheap and reliable mode of transportation to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, when trains aren’t maintained, or when reckless drivers try to beat the train across the tracks, serious accidents can occur. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a train, the Train Accident Lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP can help you recover damages for your injuries.
Types of Train Accidents
Train accidents have been known to occur in a number of forms including:
- collision with another train
- collision with a car or bus
- mechanical failure that leads to an accident
- inadequate security on the train
- dated and unsuitably maintained tracks
- conductor negligence
Sadly, any one of these events are quite capable of producing catastrophic injuries and death. Many familiar with these issues have called for the rail industry to adopt basic engineering and systems safety principles. It has been estimated that approximately 3,000 people are involved in some form of accident with a train each year around the country. This is a shocking statistic that clearly demands more attention. If comprehensive safety measures were implemented, this number would likely drop sharply.
Railroad Injury Statistics
Each year, thousands of people are injured in train and railroad accidents around the country. Railroad companies have a legal obligation under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) to keep workers and passengers safe, and to protect them from an unnecessary risk of injury. When these corporations fail to abide by FELA requirements, innocent people can suffer catastrophic injuries or exposure to chemicals that can leave them permanently impaired and disabled.
As startling as it may seem, a train collision or derailment occurs approximately every 90 minutes in the United States. Once every two weeks, a train carrying toxic or hazardous materials goes off the tracks. These accidents can have a devastating impact on workers, passengers, and the environment. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), about 3,000 train and railroad accidents occur around the country, causing 1,000 or more deaths each year.
FRA statistics show that railroad crossing accidents are the greatest health hazard from trains for the general public. It has been estimated that over 80% of railroad crossings lack adequate warning devices, which can leave drivers and pedestrians unaware that a train is approaching until it is too late. Additionally, poor equipment maintenance and training by the railroad companies, as well as negligence on the part of railroad workers, can all combine to increase the likelihood of a train or railroad accident.
Railroad Worker Injuries
Due to the hazardous nature of their duties, railroad workers are constantly vulnerable to a variety of serious and potentially catastrophic personal injuries that may leave them permanently disabled or unable to work as a result of their disabilities. Commonly reported injuries suffered by railroad workers include:
- slips and falls from improper use of railroad ballast
- chronic injuries to the lower body
- repetitive motion injuries
- carpel tunnel syndrome
- toxic exposure to dangerous chemicals
- lung cancer
Railroad Injuries in the United States
Despite the declining use of passenger trains, railroad accidents continue to injure and kill innocent people and railroad workers at an alarming rate. Over the past decade, almost 20,000 train accidents have occurred in the United States. Even though people are not always harmed in railroad accidents involving a collision or derailment, physical train accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in the U.S. Since 2000, the number of total railroad accidents has remained steady, even though overall railroad use has continued to drop.
Who’s Responsible for Train Accidents?
Due to the fact that so many different factors can lead to railroad accidents, there are a number of entities that may be held responsible for your injuries. And while it is ultimately the responsibility of the railroad company to maintain the train and tracks, automobile drivers also have a responsibility to obey all laws and not to try and sneak across the tracks after the crossbars have been lowered.
If you’ve been involved in a train accident, you may be able to be compensated for your injuries, pain and suffering, and lost income. The Train Accident Lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP can help you research your case, and file your lawsuit in court.
Fatal Railroad Crossing Accident Lawsuit Settled for $6 Million
March 21, 2012 – The family of a young woman killed in a 2010 Chicago train accident has reached a $6 million settlement with the Illinois Central Railroad Company. According to court records, company workers turned off a train signal earlier in the day for maintenance work, causing the fatal accident at the crossing. The settlement came following jury selection in a trial to determine damages in the case, which made national headlines and sparked public outrage about safety conditions in and around railroad crossings.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Katie Ann Lunn, a 26-year-old dance instructor who was driving home from her students’ competition on April 16, 2010, when her SUV was broadsided at high speed by an Amtrak train.
The railroad crossing signals reportedly failed to warn Lunn that a train was coming because they had been disabled earlier in the day for maintenance work, and remained off when the collision occurred at approximately 9:40 PM, when the victim’s SUV was crossing the tracks.
Illinois Central Railroad Company admitted that it was liable for the accident, and chose to settle the case before it could be heard by a jury. Many believe that the jury would have been shown a video of the actual accident as it occurred.
The prosecution in the case was expected to call two witnesses who drove over the tracks just seconds before the train collided with the victim’s SUV, both of whom stated that the crossing signal lights were not working and that the gate to prevent cars from going over the tracks did not come down until most of the train had already passed.
Katie Ann Lunn was a dance instructor who taught at Joffrey Ballet School in Chicago and the School of Performing Arts in Naperville. She was on her way home from watching her students’ dance recital the night she passed away.
Jury Awards N.Y. Woman for Train-Gap Injury
April 2010 – In a recent ruling, a New York jury has ordered the Long Island Railroad to pay more than $247,000 to Judith Cohen, who was injured when she fell into a train-platform gap at a Long Island train station in 2006.
Cohen, who is 72, suffered shoulder and knee fractures during the accident at Huntington Station in Long Island. The $247,000 was for pain and suffering, and included an award for lost productivity for husband Joseph Cohen.
Do You Have a Train & Railroad Accident Lawsuit?
The Personal Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in train & railroad accident lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new personal injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Train & Railroad Accident Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been involved in any form of train accident, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a train & railroad injury accident suit and we can help.