Railroad crossings located on rural roads often have no gates, warning lights or bells to warn of approaching trains. The accidents that result because of unsafe crossings like these are actually quite common.
The Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis documents more than 3,000 collisions between trains and cars in the U.S. annually. Trains colliding with pedestrians constitute another type of railroad crossing accident that can occur because of poorly constructed or designed railroad crossings. Public safety needs to be the priority of the railroad. The rail companies can be held liable for injuries that are caused by accidents that reasonable care would have prevented.
Some of the common causes of railroad accidents include:
- Failure of crossing arms or signals
- Tracks that are poorly maintained
- Brake failure or other maintenance problems
- Collisions with other trains, cars or trucks
- Negligence of the conductor or other personnel
These accidents are often the result of the negligence of train companies or employees of train companies. Even in the case of highways crossing the train tracks, the railroad and its crew must use reasonable care to prevent injuries to people crossing. Injuries suffered from train accidents can be quite serious, and include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
These devastating injuries can render a person unable to work and necessitate long-term medical care. You could be eligible for compensation if you or a loved one is harmed in a train accident and/or experiences pain and suffering due to your injuries.
Just this month in Chicago, a bizarre accident occurred involving a stopped train and two cars. At 3:00 am in the morning, the train was stopped on the tracks and the two cars, one coming from each side of the tracks, hit the train. One car hit a connector between two of the cars and the other car got wedged underneath the train. Four people were taken to the hospital.
As it turns out, the train had actually stopped due to the fact that the crossing lights were not operating correctly. The engineers were following what are called “stop and flag” rules. These rules require that the engineers put out flares to warn approaching cars that the train is there. The people in these cars indicated that they did not see the flares.
This course of action turned out to be a series of miscalculations on the part of the railroad employees. The lights at the intersection they were stopped at were the only ones that were not currently working in the system. So the train could have proceeded through and using hindsight this might have been the safer thing to do. Stopping the black tanker car across the road in the dead of night with no lights around or on the train itself, made the train car all but impossible to see by the cars approaching.
What investigators discovered was that the signals had been malfunctioning for some time prior to the accident. This had gone on for months but had not been addressed by the railroad. If inspections and maintenance along that section of track had been carried out, then the signal could possibly have been fixed prior to the railroad collision.
Failure of train operators to report a problem at the crossing or of the railroad company to fix a broken signal may constitute negligence that can give rise to liability if a railroad accident results. This type of negligence easily could have resulted in the deaths of the four people involved. The railroad companies fail to repair signals at railroad crossings, they need to be held accountable for not taking the proper precautions to prevent potentially fatal train accidents.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a railroad accident, contact our attorneys for a free consultation to learn about your rights to compensation for your damages.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury or wrongful death in a train accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing those involved in Georgia car accidents and Georgia train accidents in the Atlanta area and throughout Georgia for over 39 years. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys will work in the best interests of our clients to help them obtain the compensation that they deserve.
Our experienced Georgia train accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.