Trains remain popular throughout the country as efficient movers of people and cargo. Whether used to carry us to and from work (like the Metro light rail), transport goods and raw materials, or offer a leisurely way to take a scenic vacation, trains have always played a memorable role in many of our lives. But sadly, derailments and accidents involving other trains, motor vehicles, or pedestrians continue to happen in Houston and around the country.
Believe it or not, some form of train or commuter light rail accident happens, on average, about every other hour in America. Many occur on commuter rail platforms as passengers embark or disembark. If your injuries involve a train, then hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer may help you obtain compensation for your resulting injuries and hardships.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration Office, in 2016, 774 people were killed in train accidents, including 476 pedestrians (walking alongside railroad tracks). It also reports that in the same year, 57 light rail passengers lost their lives, another 199 accidentally died from platform accidents, and 13 commuter rail employees died in on-the-job accidents.
When people think of train accidents, they visualize serious derailments where dozens of cars are involved and dozens of people are injured. And yet, those are quite rare. The most common involve freight train locomotives and motor vehicles at railroad crossings. And some of those 774 fatalities outlined above involved motor vehicle drivers and their passengers who died in collisions at railroad crossings.
Trains are not to be Trifled With
Many of these unfortunate crossing accidents occur because people think they can beat the engine at the crossing, but they misjudge their speed and distance. They also believe that since they’re easy to see from the train cab, the engineer will stop the train in time. But it takes more than a mile for a locomotive pulling 50 cars at 10 mph to come to a complete stop. Such driver misjudgments result in devastating injuries and death to the victims in their 5,000-pound vehicle when it’s flattened by a 50,000-ton train. Even if a train hits a car at only 10 mph, odds are the occupants will be permanently disabled or killed.
If this tragedy occurs because the railroad crossing arms and signals malfunction, a shrewd train accident lawyer will investigate the accident and explore various ways to hold the responsible parties accountable, e.g. the railroad and maintenance organization which maintains the crossing apparatus.
In other cases where the victim isn’t at fault, such as during a derailment or a collision with a Metro light rail, injuries and the resulting medical bills shouldn’t be borne in any way, shape, or form by innocent victims. Those responsible for the negligence owe their victims money to pay medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other legal damages that will mount as a direct result.
But asking for and receiving are two different things. One obstacle, especially if it involves the Metro light rail, is that it’s a quasi-government entity that operates as a business for profit. And the rules when suing the government, as opposed to suing a business or private individual, are very different. This is one of several accident scenarios in which an experienced Houston train accident attorney can be very helpful to your claim.
Was Someone “Asleep at the Switch”?
That’s an old railroad term which means somebody was inattentive and something bad happened. Negligent train accidents commonly involve distracted or fatigued operators, improper or inadequate maintenance, or mechanical failure that can lead to major incidents, such as derailment, collisions with vehicles, and platform accidents as they pull into loading/unloading areas.
As you can see, there are many different causes for train accidents; and when there’s an injury, it could be something caused by a facility maintenance worker, a train yard worker, or someone with the train company you might never see as part of the train operation – not just the engineer.
Whether injuries are moderate, extensive, or cause an unfortunate wrongful death, the impact on the victim and their families is deflating. Injured victims are due compensation from those who caused the accident. It is a victim’s right.
Our Houston Train Accident Lawyers Help you Fight for Fair Compensation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, an experienced lawyer can help you recover various damages – for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, disability, etc.
The team at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury law will do all we can to fight for your rights, even if litigation is necessary. Contact us for help as soon as possible if you are the victim of a rail road accident or a Metro light rail incident. You deserve justice.