Train Accident Attorneys
Trains capture the imagination. Whether they’re the main part of old-western movie storylines or a popular building toy for children, they remain a great way to travel across states or the country. A train ride is one of the safer ways to travel or transport goods, but thousands of accidents occur every year in the United States. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a train due to negligence of the train driver, or malfunction of the safety equipment on the train or warning signals, then you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated team at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. can help you start the road to recovery by getting you the compensation you deserve.
What Causes a Train Accident?
Across the United States, train accidents are not as common as car accidents but they do happen. What causes these steel giants to derail or collide with an automobile? Here are some of the most common causes of train accidents:
Excessive Train Speed
Much like cars, trains are required to stay within a certain speed limit. This speed limit drops when the train approaches railroad crossings to reduce the likelihood of an accident involving a vehicle or a pedestrian. However, there are cases where train drivers failed to slow down at railroad crossings, resulting in a collision with a car or pedestrian or the derailment of the train.
Train derailments were especially problematic in the 19th century. The stress to have more trains and more expansive train tracks across the United States led to quick track installment and failure to incorporate better safety controls and practices for the train drivers. As a result, there was an 800% increase in train accidents from the early to late 19th century.
Thankfully, the number of train accidents drastically dropped as train companies improved the tracks, safety controls, and safety procedures. Now train derailments are not as common; some are minor (e.g., a wheel dislodging from the track), but some can damage the entire train (e.g. loose cars). Here is what can cause a train to derail:
Mechanical failure of the track. This can include broken rails, tie failure, or bolts coming loose.
Mechanical failure of a train car. The axle-box can fail, or the car wheels can break or bend.
Unusual track interaction. The train tracks react to sudden and extreme changes in condition. For example, heat from a hot day can cause the train tracks to expand. In most cases, additional protection systems prevent track buckling and thus derailment. However, these systems are not foolproof, and in some cases, they have failed.
Audio Warnings Failed to Sound
The unmistakable sound of the train horn commands attention and can be heard for miles. A train whistle helps alert those in the area of the presence of the train and gives individuals enough time to stay clear of the tracks. However, in some residential areas trains are required to follow noise restrictions. While this allows homeowners near the track to get some undisturbed sleep, it can be particularly dangerous for railroad crossings. This is especially true if the railroad crossings’ mechanical arm or warning bells fail to activate, resulting in a horrific collision between a train and a motorist or pedestrian.
Defective Visual Warnings at the Train Crossing
When you reach a train crossing, you expect the warning arm to block your path and the flashing lights to alert you to the dangers of an oncoming train. When these protective devices fail, an unsuspecting driver can try to cross the tracks and end up getting struck by the train.
Conductor Error or Negligence
The conductor is responsible for ensuring that the train is traveling at safe speeds and can brake when needed. However, when the conductor is not paying attention or they are rushing to meet deadlines, accidents can happen. A train driver riding at 55mph will take about 1-1.5 miles to slow down and stop. Not stopping or slowing in time for railroad stations or crossings can lead to the collision of the train with another train, a motorist, or even a pedestrian.
Train Mechanics Malfunction
If the train is not regularly maintained, tested, or properly manufactured/designed, then it could lead to train malfunction and an accident is almost inevitable. Failing brakes are one of the most common malfunctions on a train.
Filing a Claim for Your Train Accident
If you have been involved in a train accident, you will want to contact the passionate team of personal injury attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. We can help you get back on your feet after a train accident. Whether it was driver negligence, mechanical errors, or the failure to follow safety regulations by the train company, we can help you claim the compensation you deserve. We can gather expert witnesses, evidence, and medical records showing that your injury could have been avoided if there had been more care taken. Our team follows a no-win, no-fee contingency payment, meaning that if we cannot win your case, you do not owe us a dime. This is just another way we take care of our clients. If you are looking for legal representation that will fight hard for you and your family, contact the law firm of Branch & Dhillon, P.C. today!