Railroad Accidents Result In Catastrophic Injuries And Death
Railroad companies have a responsibility to inspect and maintain all crossings and right-of-ways for safety. Even so, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reported that there were 2,225 train accidents and 1,842 incidents at public railroad crossings in 2006. Railroad crossings and track-related incidents are some of the principal causes of non-employee railroad injury and death.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a railroad accident, contact the Lake Charles motor vehicle wreck lawyers of the Townsley Law Firm for a free initial consultation by calling 337-377-0584 or by submitting the form on this page.
Types Of Railroad Accidents
There are several types of railroad or train accidents- all of them can result in catastrophic personal injury or death of railroad employees, train passengers, and passengers of other vehicles that are involved. Railroad accidents include:
- Train-car collisions
- Collisions with another train
- Individuals in contact with trains
Causes Of Railroad Accidents
There can be many contributing factors that can lead to a train accident. Some of the most common causes include:
- Mechanical failure
- Improper maintenance
- Failure of railroad track and equipment
- Human error
- Excessive cargo loads
The most common types of train accidents are collisions with other trains, collisions with passenger vehicles, and single train accidents. These types of accidents may be caused by improperly maintained tracks, derailment, mechanical failure, or automobile driver inexperience. Absent or inadequate warnings at railroad crossings can also contribute to collisions. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, more than half of all railroad accidents occur at unprotected crossings and over 80 percent of railroad crossings don’t have adequate warning devices.
Responsibility And Compensation
Because there are many factors that lead to a railroad accident, there are many people who can be held responsible for your injury, loss of income, or pain and suffering. Train companies are often reluctant to admit to liability in railroad accidents. Train accident victims need qualified attorneys to make sure that the train company bears responsibility for a catastrophic train accident and that the victims are fairly compensated.
Non-Railroad Employees Involved In Accidents
Injured individuals who are not railroad employees have the right to seek compensation for pain, suffering and loss under federal law. They must seek compensation based on the merits of the individual claim and prove liability on the part of the railroad owner and operator. Incidents can involve faulty railroad crossings, derailments, train collisions, fires, and environmental catastrophes including toxic material spills, air contamination, and explosions. These are typically very serious accidents involving deaths and life-altering injuries.
In the aftermath, victims can be embroiled in lengthy investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), state and local authorities, and investigators and attorneys working for the railroad company. In many cases, the railroad company’s insurance and legal counsel will attempt to negotiate a settlement with victims of a train accident. And predictably, the railroad company’s experts will attempt to settle claims for as little money as possible. These individuals are skilled negotiators and well informed in the law affecting railroad accidents. You need skilled legal counsel that you can depend on to protect your interests and secure fair compensation for your suffering and loss.
Railroad Employees Are Covered By FELA
Railroad employees are covered by The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). FELA requires railroad employers to compensate employees who are injured on the job. Railroad injuries can be caused by improper supervision, poor working conditions, hazardous materials, inadequate safety measures, equipment failure, catastrophic events and human error. Even though there are regulations to protect workers in what can be a dangerous workplace, there is little oversight by the federal government to ensure that the regulations are enforced.
When railroad employees are injured on the job, they are not eligible to file a typical worker’s compensation claim. All claims are subject to the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), while long term disability and retirement benefits are administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). In a worker’s compensation claim, a worker must only prove that he or she was injured ‘on the job’ and no claim of liability by the employer is necessary. Compensation is then set and distributed by the appropriate state government agency.
FELA claims are different. Awards from successful FELA claims are usually much larger than those from state worker’s compensation claims, but railroad employees making a FELA claim must prove that the injury they sustained on the job was caused by the owner or operator of the railroad company. This means that through some action or inaction in the workplace the railroad company is, at least in part, liable for the accident. If the railroad company can be proven to be liable, even in a minor way, then they will be found liable for the injury in the claim.
Contact Our Railroad Accident Lawyer
Railroad and FELA claims are complex. Success requires experienced legal counsel. Our experienced lawyers can explain your options and help you claim the compensation you deserve. Call our office in Lake Charles at 337-377-0584. You can also reach out to us via email.