Recently, it seems every time you turn on the television, or radio, you hear news about a train accident. In some cases the train had struck a pedestrian, but in many cases, the train has struck a vehicle that happened to be on the tracks. When these types of accidents happen, there is usually a large number of people injured, or even killed. These people are not only in the vehicle involved, but many times they are passengers on the train. If you, or someone you know, have been involved in an accident involving a train, you need to consult an accident attorney prior to signing anything.
How Prevalent Are Train Accidents?
If you are like most people, you only hear about major train accidents that appear on the evening news. An example of this is the one that took place in Philadelphia on May 12, 2015. In this case, eight people were killed, and hundreds were injured.
Surprisingly, it is more common than you think. Not too many days go by in the United States that there is not a train accident somewhere. The Federal Railroad Administration statistics show, although these accidents have been on a decline over the last several decades, they have begun to slowly increase again. In 2013, there were approximately 2,096 train collisions, while the final number in 2014 is expected to come in around 2,280. While most of these accidents do not cause the level of death and destruction seen in the Philadelphia accident, they are still horrific for the people and families involved.
What Causes A Train Accident?
In the cases of those trains that are involved in accidents, these can usually be tied back to negligence by one or more of the parties involved. Train accidents are most commonly caused by:
- Obstructed view at railroad crossings
- Driver distraction
- Driver fatigue
- Drug and alcohol use by either driver
- Mechanical problems or defects
- Track defects or maintenance issues
- Malfunctioning signals
- Driver/operator error, and more
Although there are times in which the vehicle passenger driver is at fault, many accidents are due to the negligence of the train company itself.
What Do You Need To Do If You Are Involved In An Accident Involving A Train?
It goes without saying, if you, or a family member, is involved in an accident which involves a train, you must first seek any medical care you may need to treat any injuries you may have incurred. If you were a passenger on the train, and do not feel you have been seriously injured, you will still want to be medically examined just in case any injury shows up later.
Do not sign anything presented to you. You may sign the releases at the hospital in order for them to file your treatment with your insurance company, if applicable.
Do not speak to representatives from the railroad without first consulting an accident attorney. Railroads have personnel on staff whose main job is to make contact following an accident in order to minimize the liability the company may have. While these people may appear to be concerned with how you are doing, they are employed by, and being paid by, the rail company.
Save any correspondence, medical bills, reports, and other documentation you may be involved in following the accident. Make sure your attorney has copies of all of this information.
Hire an accident attorney who has experience in winning lawsuits against large corporations, such as the rail company. They will be able to quickly and accurately analyze your case. They will be able to get you the compensation you need.