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Train Accident Attorney

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida & All of the U.S.

Hundreds of railroad-related deaths and thousands of railroad related injuries and accidents occur every year. Whether it’s a catastrophic accident resulting from faulty railroad crossings or injuries suffered by railroad workers, the results are almost always serious, and often fatal. The two basic classes of railroad accident and injury cases are those involving railroad employees injured on the job and non-rail workers injured in a train accident.

FELA-Regulated Railroad Worker Injuries

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, wrongful death and human error. Even though there are regulations to protect workers in what can be a dangerous workplace, there is a little oversight by the federal government to ensure that the regulations are enforced.

A recent Congressional hearing reviewed accusations that the railroad industry under reports accidents and dangerous working conditions. The panel also heard reports of the inability of current Federal regulatory bodies to investigate and enforce existing laws governing railroad operation. This means that railroad employees who are injured on the job must have qualified representation such as a railroad injury lawyer to ensure that railroad owners and operators fulfill the responsibilities mandated by FELA and other laws that regulate safety operation of trains and railways.

Protecting Injured Non-Railworkers

Injured victims who are not employees of the railroad 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, state and local authorities, and investigators and attorneys working for the railroad company. Train accident victims need qualified attorneys on their side to help them through what can be a long, painful process.

Train Accident Statistics & Facts

The Federal Railroad Administration has reported that there were 1,979 train accidents in 2011 throughout the nation – resulting in almost 3 accidents per million train miles traveled. This resulted in 6 fatalities and over 200 "nonfatal conditions." The primary types of train accidents included derailments, which accounted for over 70% of accidents, and collisions, which accounted for 7%.

The primary causes of train accidents include:

  • Human Factors – 36%
  • Track Defects – 34%
  • Equipment Defects – 12%
  • Signal Defects – 2%
  • Miscellaneous – 17%

Unfortunately, beyond the immediate injuries from train accidents, there are also severe consequences should the train have been transporting anything hazardous. In 2011, there were 20 accidents that resulted in the release of what was deemed hazardous material, causing over 2,000 people to be evacuated.

Overview of Large Railway Accidents

Throughout United States history, railways have stood as one of the most convenient forms of transportation – but also one of the most hazardous.Some of the largest accidents in recent history include:

  • Glendale Derailment
    In 2005 in Glendale, CA, this accident involved a Metrolink commuter train traveling throughout the Los Angeles area. Going southbound, the train collided with an abandoned SUV on the tracks. This caused the train to jackknife and hit two other trains, including one run by Union Pacific (UP) and another Metrolink train. This derailment resulted in 11 fatalities and between 100 and 200 injuries.

  • Chatsworth Train Collision
    Another incident involving a Metrolink train occurred near Chatsworth, CA on September 12, 2008, with another commuter train. This time, the train ran a red signal and collided head first with a train that had been given the right of way. It was reported by the NTSB that the operator had been texting at the time of the accident. This collision resulted in 25 fatalities, causing it become the deadliest Metrolink accident in history. Over 135 people were injured and damage is estimated to exceed $7,000,000.

  • Brooks Derailment
    This train accident occurred on January 16, 2007, near Brooks, Kentucky. Here a train operated by CSX Transportation (CSXT) pulling about 80 cars derailed; as several of the cars were carrying hazardous materials which caused a fire that exploded over 1,000 feet high. Luckily, there were no injuries or deaths and the railway company was able to reach a settlement with local residents.

  • Graniteville Train Crash
    On January 6, 2005, in Graniteville, SC, two trains operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway collided outside of an Avondale Mills plant. It was reported that one of the trains had been parked when the other train was improperly diverted and they collided. Both were derailed, which caused the release of 60 tons of gas from the hazardous materials being transported. There were 9 deaths and more than 250 injuries. Over 5,000 residents were forced to evacuate while HAZMAT crews decontaminated the area for two weeks.

Why should you call Arnold & Itkin?

If you are reading this page, it is likely because you have recently been injured in a train accident or have suffered as a FELA employee. If this is the case, you do not have a moment to lose. These accidents are nothing to take lightly and can result in millions of dollars in damages. As there are usually many people who were injured and are looking to file a claim.

Don't let yourself get lost in the shuffle.

You deserve to receive just compensation to cover all damages that you have incurred and we are here to demand justice on your behalf. This is not the time to work with just any firm. You need an aggressive advocate who will step up to fight for you. At our firm, we have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients.

So why wait? With your future on the line, you need to proactively act to protect your legal rights. By working with our firm, you can trust that you are placing your case, and therefore your life, into trustworthy hands. We encourage you to give us a call today at 888-495-6816 today or schedule your free consultation through our online case evaluation form. We look forward to hearing from you.

Our principal place of business is located in Houston, Texas, but we can serve clients throughout the nation.

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