Bridge Collapse Accident Causes Train Derailment and Hazardous Chemical Spill

December 13, 2012

A recent transportation accident involving a freight train derailment caused several tanker cars to pile up and hazardous materials (vinyl chloride) to be spilled out into a creek in New Jersey.  The carnage was the result of a bridge that collapsed.

The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) dispatched a team to investigate the train derailment and bridge collapse.  While the NTSB has not provided a formal report indicating the cause of the derailment and release of toxic chemicals, they indicated that the same bridge collapsed three years earlier.  This train derailment accident raises a number of issues:

Poorly Maintained Infrastructure: Roadways and bridges in Georgia and throughout the country are in various states of disrepair because economic conditions have hampered the ability of government entities to perform needed maintenance of pavement, traffic signs, stoplights, guardrails and other roadway features and equipment.  When poorly designed or maintained roadways cause crashes involving cars, motorcycles, tractor-trailers, pedestrians and bicycles, the State of Georgia, counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions may be liable for resulting injuries.  The question of whether the entity responsible for the roadways knew or should have known of the hazard is a significant issue.  In this bridge collapse accident, this knowledge might be established by the similar recent bridge failure.

Train Derailment Accidents: When trains derail as they are transporting passengers or freight, the resulting collision can cause massive wrecks with many casualties and fatalities.  Trains generally weigh more than forty tons and up to 500 tons or more so any collision can cause substantial property damage and personal injuries.  Several factors may contribute to a train derailment accident, such as poorly maintained rail, breaks in tracks caused by frigid temperatures, unsafe train speed, unbalanced cargo and unsafe, sharp curves.  When railway equipment is not properly maintained or safety rules are not observed, those injured in passenger and freight train derailments may be entitled to financial compensation.

Tanker Accidents Causing Hazardous Chemical Spills: When tanker trucks or tanker rail cars collide with other vehicles or leave the track, the enormous size and weight of these tankers can cause serious collisions.  When the tanker is transporting toxic, flammable, corrosive, radioactive, explosive or other hazardous substances, the danger may be even more serious.  While special regulations govern the transport of hazardous substances, sometimes companies violate these safety rules.  Violations of regulations regarding the safe transport of hazardous materials may be a basis for imposing liability on the negligent party.

Our Georgia train accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.  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 and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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