Train Accident Lawyer & Rail Attorneys

TRAIN ACCIDENT NEWS: September 15, 2008

LOS ANGELES / CHATSWORTH CA - A Metrolink train had failed to stop for a red light signal, resulting in a Friday collision with a freight train, according to the commuter train's operators. More than 138 passengers were injured and 25 fatalities from this tragic train accident.

If you've been injured in a train accident, you deserve the help of an experienced rail attorney who understands the rail industry and knows how to fight for your reparations. To find a train accident lawyer in your state fill out the free case review form today.

Although rail service has decreased in the United States over the last several decades due to the popularity of air travel, trains are still an important part of both recreational and commercial travel.

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Facts about the U.S. rail travel accidents:

  • The U.S. rail system itself is massive - consisting of a huge network of track and cars that extends throughout the country.
  • Over 600 railroads operating 20,000 locomotives, which pull 1.2 million freight cars on approximately 223,000 miles of track - enough track to cross the country more than fifty times.
  • Due to the vast area covered and the large size of trains, railroad travel also has its share of inherent risk. Every ninety minutes there is a train derailment or collision, and every year there are approximately 3,000 train accidents - killing over 1,000 people.
  • In fact, even car passengers can be at risk. Motorists are thirty times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than one with another vehicle.

The rail industry has not accepted responsibility for these devastating figures, irresponsibly relying on technology that was developed over 70 years ago and making very little effort to update vital safety measures. They also skirt the legal system with a shameless disregard for their passengers. In one recent 18-month period, seven federal and state courts imposed sanctions on Union Pacific, the nation's biggest railroad, for destroying or failing to preserve evidence in crossing accidents.


Common causes of train accidents in the United States:

  • Improperly lined switches
  • Pushing cars from behind without monitoring conditions
  • Leaving cars on operational tracks
  • Failure to acknowledge railroad grade crossings
  • Excessive speed
  • Fatigue on the operator's part
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Train Derailment Accidents

Train derailments aren't just a thing of the movies or isolated events that catch the media's attention every so often. Train collisions and derailments continue to injure or kill passengers and bystanders each year, exacting a huge price on public safety. The statistics are staggering: every hour and a half there is a train derailment or collision, and every year there are approximately 3,000 train accidents. Derailments can be catastrophic - each incident having the potential to kill hundreds of people. The devastation goes beyond actual impact - a freight train carrying chlorine gas struck a parked train in rural South Carolina recently, killing eight people and injuring more than 240 others, nearly all of them sickened by a toxic cloud of gas that escaped after eight cars derailed.

While rail companies continue to rely on technology that was developed over 70 years ago, little effort has been made to update safety measures. In fact, most of the 223,000 miles of railroad track currently operating in the nation goes un-inspected each year. This callous disregard for safety oversight has dire consequences for those injured or killed in train derailments. In fact, track related failure is the largest single cause of train derailments and major accidents, including the Amtrak crash of the California Zephyr east of Des Moines, Iowa - which killed one, seriously injured 15 and resulted in more than 75 other injuries.

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FELA Claims

As railways gained popularity and became more dangerous at the same time, the government stepped in to protect workers from injuries sustained in railway accidents. In 1908, Congress passed the Federal Employers' Liability Act, (FELA). This law assures railroad employees a safe work place and gives them and their families the right to recover compensation if injured in a railroad related accident.

Under FELA, injured employees can seek compensation for wage loss, future wage loss, medical expenses and treatments, pain and suffering, and for partial or permanent disability. If an employee is killed on the job, survivors are entitled to recover damages for what they have suffered because of the death.

FELA litigation can be complex and tedious, as powerful railway companies fight to blame the victim for their own injuries. You deserve an attorney who understands the intricacies of railway legislation and will fight to get you the reparations that are rightfully yours.

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Gate Crossing Accidents

Passengers on trains are not the only ones that have to deal with horrific train accidents. Train crossings can be extremely dangerous, with more than 253,000 highway-rail gate crossings throughout the country. On average, at least one person a day dies at a crossing in the United States. Since 2000, more than twice as many people have been killed at grade crossings as have died in commercial plane crashes. Unfortunately, these fatalities draw little national attention because they usually come one or two at a time, often where tracks weave through small towns and rural areas across the country.

Though the railway industry tends to blame the victim for such incidents, many of these accidents are preventable. Much could be done to prevent railroad accidents if railroad track was properly maintained and if all railroad crossings were protected with lights and gates. Railroads have a legal duty to provide due and timely warning to the general public when their trains approach a crossing. By federal law, all trains must be equipped with (and have on) headlights of a specified brightness and horns that produce a warning sound which meets a minimum loudness standard. Also, state laws often specify that a horn must be sounded when approaching a crossing.

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Train Collision Lawyer

Train travel is one of the safest methods of travel in the country, but this doesn't mean that passengers and bystanders are protected from hundreds of deadly accidents each year. The huge size and velocity of trains can be a lethal combination, resulting in disastrous collisions. Whether a speeding train collides with a motor vehicle or another train, fatalities almost inevitably occur. The statistics paint a dire picture: each hour and a half there is a train derailment or collision, and approximately 1,000 people will die annually as a result of train accidents, with thousands more sustaining grave injuries. Recently in the Los Angeles area, a commuter train smashed into an SUV left on the tracks by a suicidal man, sending the train careening off the rails in a wreck that killed 10 people and injured about 200.

The rail industry refuses to take responsibility for the carnage. Security at many railroad crossings is woefully under funded and poorly maintained. While federal law insists that all trains must be equipped with (and have on) headlights of a specified brightness and horns that produce a warning sound which meets a minimum loudness standard, it rarely is regulated. State laws often specify that a horn must be sounded when approaching a crossing - another issue that goes unchecked.

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Subway and Metro Accident:

The subway system has proven to be an invaluable method of transportation for urban residents and commuters for years. While cheap and convenient, subway and metro travel can also be dangerous - from slip and falls to fatal hits from the train, victims can be seriously hurt or even killed. These needless injuries and deaths are inexcusable.

Subway authorities have an added responsibility to keep their passengers safe. Typically subways are considered common carriers - and are held responsible if the accident resulted from a failure of the railroad to meet the high standard of care required. This means that subway operators and railroads can be held responsible for even the slightest negligence.

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Trolley Accident and legal help:

Trolleys have become a great method of commuting and sightseeing, and have increased exponentially in popularity over the past ten years. Since trolleys are growing in popularity, related injuries and deaths are also increasing each year.

As a trolley is not a motor vehicle, there are complexities involved in recovering reparations that only an experienced rail attorney can navigate. When someone is injured on a trolley, there is no restriction on recovering for non-economic damages, such as for pain and suffering. However, if the trolley system is owned by the local city (considered a municipality), there could be restrictions on the recovery, which are rules are set up in order to protect municipalities, cities, states and their agencies and departments from the burden of certain litigation. The exceptions to governmental immunity vary by state, so each law must be carefully examined.

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FInd a Train Accident lawyer in these States:

Alabama (AL), Alaska (AK), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Montana (MT), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), North Dakota (ND), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), Washington DC (DC), West Virginia (WV), Wisconsin (WI), Wyoming (WY).

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Train Accident Lawyer & Rail Attorney Metrolink Accident Lawyer. Use our free case review if you've been injured in a train wreck. Page updated 02/19/2010