Train accidents aren’t as prevalent as other transportation accidents, which is likely why we don’t typically perceive trains as a dangerous threat. Even though railroads aren’t as widespread as they once were in past centuries, they are still fairly active. Trains remain commonplace in the forms of trams, subways, commuter trains, as well as cargo trains.
Over the past ten years, Texas has sustained 9,489 railroad accidents. Of those, 534 accidents resulted in fatalities, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Railroads traverse our gorgeous Texas landscape and thus are involved in a wide array of incidents. The majority of railroad accidents occur because of the following:
- Human Error
- Track Malfunction
- Motive Power/Equipment Malfunction
- Signal Caused
- Stalled cars on the track
- Speedy trains
Railroad Worker Injury
Protections under worker’s compensation do not extend to railroad employees. Instead, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) establishes protections for the employees. Under FELA, the burden of proof to establish fault is lower than a typical negligence case. Subsequently, making it easier for a worker to succeed and recoup damages.
Should the accident be caused by something other than human error, the worker must establish that their employer was negligent in some capacity, regardless of how slight the negligence and that this negligence led to injuries suffered. Often referred to as the “featherweight” burden of proof, also used in the Jones Act, which provides an advantage for railroad workers and offshore workers attempting to recover on-the-job injuries.
Individual Citizen Injuries
To determine fault and resulting compensation, details surrounding the accident will be thoroughly analyzed. According to the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, The Federal Railroad Administration is entrusted with the authority and responsibility to promote and oversee railway safety regulations.
Commuter rail lines and railroad companies have a legal obligation to uphold the highest level of safety of all passengers. By law, all locomotives must install a black box (an indestructible device that records all information of the train’s operations) necessary to review in the event of an accident. Immediately following a train wreck, recovery of
the black box will provide insight into the events leading up to the accident, such as the direction of the train, speed, etc.
While the railway is responsible for safety, they do not always live up to this standard. Distinctly, this failure to uphold standards is not always the fault of the conductor or railway. Often, multiple factors are present in a personal injury case resulting from a severe &/or deadly train accident; one of many reasons why it is imperative to hire an Austin injury lawyer.
Railway safety & Train Accident Prevention
Railway and railroad companies are obliged to establish safeguards to protect operators, passengers, pedestrians, and the public. These safeguards include:
- Operators completing rigorous training to meet strict requirements to uphold their operating license.
- State inspectors incongruent with the FRA certify the facilities and railroad tracks are safe and up to date according to the most current safety regulations.
Should you be the victim of an accident, our Austin injury lawyer is here to fight for the maximum settlement possible. Of course, it’s best to avoid an accident altogether. More often than not, railroad accidents occur at a crossing. The following are situations to be aware of and to proceed with caution when presented:
- Overgrown vegetation at crossings, obstructing visibility
- Obstructed crossing guards
- Poorly and inadequately maintained traffic control warnings and alerts
- Broken traffic control mechanisms
Additionally, follow these tips to prevent a railway accident.
- Never walk down or play on a train track.
- Understand that size of trains exceeds the track they’re on.
- Never try to race or beat a train.
- Realize it can take a train traveling 55mph up to a mile to come to a complete stop.
- Always assume a track is in use.
- Never stop on a railroad track.
- Always look both ways before crossing a train track.
- Never enter a train tunnel or cross a trestle where you can get trapped without escape if a train enters.
- (For truck drivers) Lift your trailer jacks in the up position so that your truck doesn’t get stuck on the track.
- Never drive around lowered gates. If it appears the gate is stuck, find another route or call the 1-800 number posted at the crossing to report it.
Contingency Fee Basis
Personal injury lawsuits are both complicated and expensive to mount. For this reason, we take all cases on contingency, meaning there is never a fee until we recover a settlement in your favor. If you or a loved one was involved in a railroad accident, our Austin injury lawyer is here to help.
To find out how we can help you, contact an Austin Injury Lawyer at 512-400-7070 or send us a message. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your personal injury case. Additionally, we will not charge you for our services unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for your case. Whether you are dealing with a railroad accident, the manufacturer of a defective product, or an insurance company, AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure justice and financial restitution for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our personal injury attorneys will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.