Did you know that 3,000 train accidents occur per year, resulting in roughly 1,000 deaths? Because of a train’s massive size, even the most minor error causes a catastrophe.
Collisions at crossings occur the most frequently. While a driver attempting to “beat” the train may be at fault, negligence, including human error and track issues, causes 38 percent of all train accidents.
Types of accidents
The degree of damage and victims varies with the type of accident. A case could involve someone slipping off a platform and being hit, or a freight train carrying chemicals derails and causes damage to a greater area, if not an entire town. Victims, in these and other instances, may be passengers, pedestrians or bystanders, railroad employees, or drivers of cars and trucks. Common accidents typically fall into the following types:
Railroad Crossing Accidents: A train hits a car, truck, or pedestrian crossing over tracks. Although negligence may be responsible, the incident may also be attributed to a defective signal or gate, not sounding a horn or using lights near the crossing, plants or other objects obstructing the area, or a protrusion from the side of the train.
Derailments: Derailments cause the greatest, most pervasive degree of train-related damage and frequently result from not following safety standards. However, the accident may have also occurred from faulty tracks or equipment, objects on tracks, or too-heavy cargo.
Collisions: Out of all possible train accidents, collisions between a train and a car or truck or with another train happen the most often. In fact, statistically, a collision occurs every 90 minutes.
Other Accidents: While collisions, derailment, and crossing accidents occur the most frequently, more incidents can happen. Passengers or bystanders may slip off the platform and onto the tracks, where they may be injured from the fall or get crushed by the train. Mechanical malfunctions, improper operating procedures, and insufficient safety devices all lead to an accident on the track.
Filing a Claim
Because train accidents are considerably more complex than other motor vehicle collisions, legal cases have several variables. Responsibilities depend on the relationship of the injured individual to the railroad: an employee, a passenger, or a motorist, pedestrian, or unrelated third party. The incident determines if the railroad or engineer is liable.
As Federal and State Statutes regulate these vehicles, from passenger rails and freight trains crossing over several states to local commuter lines to subways and elevated trains, higher standards of care are expected from operators and common carriers. As a result, these parties share responsibility for even the most minor injuries experienced.
However, a plaintiff filing a train accident lawsuit in Connecticut or any other location must understand the government’s role. If a government entity owns or operates a railroad, “tort claims acts” applies to all injuries. As a result, the government agency requires notice in a short period; otherwise, the government prohibits the injured party from filing. Similarly, this short period affects a state’s statute of limitations concerning train accidents.
As is the case with many accidents, insurance companies representing railroads and rail carriers attempt to settle for a low amount when a claim is presented. When an amount is reached in trial, it may cover costs associated with medical expenses, lost income and benefits, permanent physical disability or disfigurement, loss of quality of life and opportunities, loss of family, emotional damages, damaged property, funeral expenses, scarring, and disability payments.
Filing a train accident lawsuit tends to be very complex, with an experienced attorney familiar with state and federal rail laws required. As the statute of limitations is shorter than for motor vehicle accidents, it’s advised to contact a Connecticut attorney with your case as soon as possible.