The risks posed by train accidents
Railroad accidents are less common than car wrecks in Houston, but the potential for serious injuries or even death is much higher due to the sheer mass of the equipment and the nature of train travel. On commuter railways or traveling cross-country, passengers often stand and walk about the coaches. When seated, passengers do not wear safety belts. In a railroad accident, a passenger can sustain numerous motion or blunt force injuries, such as whiplash, spinal cord injuries, broken or dislocated bones, brain injury or even wrongful death. Passengers are not the only persons injured in train accidents: railroad crossings are dangerous spots for motor vehicles and pedestrians.
The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board — two government agencies that oversee railroad and train safety — have provided some statistics related to train safety:
- 60 percent of all crossing fatalities occur at unprotected crossings.
- 80 percent of all public railroad crossings are not protected by lights and safety gates.
- A derailment or train collision occurs every 90 minutes.
- There have been few technological changes or safety updates for railway systems in the past 70 years.
- Although vehicle and train collisions have decreased, pedestrian and train collisions have increased.
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What are the causes of train accidents?
The following are some of the common reasons why train accidents occur in Texas:
- Mechanical or electrical failure. Operators rely on switches and signals to prevent them from going down the wrong track or an occupied track. Switch and signal failures can lead to collisions with other trains.
- Track and structural defects or maintenance issues. Design flaws and faulty maintenance on tracks can cause derailments, especially at high speeds.
- Human error. Train operators can allow themselves to be distracted by cell phone use and tasks unrelated to their job. Human error also affects motorists who ignore signals and attempt to race the train through the crossing.
The train and railroad companies and their employees have a responsibility for passenger safety and avoiding causing injury to anyone on the road and on the rails. If you or a loved one were a passenger on a train that was involved in an accident you deserve compensation for injuries suffered if the railroad company is found negligent. Loved ones might also need to take action after a fatal accident.
Speak with an experienced Houston train accident attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, work with the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec in Houston. We are happy to meet with you in your home or hospital room. We accept cases on a contingent-fee basis, which means that you will not pay us any money if we do not win your case. If you have been injured outside of Texas, we work with attorneys throughout the country who focus their practice on train accidents in every state.
"Shane showed genuine concern about my well-being. He not only gave me excellent legal service, he did so with compassion and integrity."--Tracy