Train Derailments Are Uncommon, But They Still Happen
In the 21st century, train derailment is not a common occurrence due to improved safety regulations. Yet they do still occur, and the distinct causes are classified as different types of failures: track component failure, failure of running gear, unusual track and rail interaction, signal errors, or collisions. When people think of a train derailment they might picture a chaotic scene involving a crash, but many instances are minor. A derailment is defined by a vehicle that runs off its rails, but it doesn’t have to leave the track. While many occurrences are minor, they can still pose a threat to human health and safety. If someone is hurt due to one of these reasons, they have the option to speak with a lawyer and discuss the possibility of filing a claim.
Train Derailment Causes
- Track component failure refers to parts of the track (not the vehicle) that fail in some way. For example, broken track rails may be a cause for an accident. If the broken rails go unnoticed and do not get repaired, the track gauge (the distance between the broken rails) will continue to increase.
- Failure of the running gear refers to parts of the engine, such as the wheels. A common way in which the wheels fail is simply because of a lack of lubrication. However, modern technology has greatly improved upon this and regular service checks can easily prevent parts from failing.
- Unusual track interaction refers to situations when conditions such as heat affect an aspect of the train or track. In hot weather, the steel rails will expand and additional systems are put in place to ensure that the vehicle doesn’t buckle. If those systems fail, however, they can cause very serious accidents.
- Miscommunication that leads to signal errors can cause a train derailment. If two trains happen to be on the same track by mistake, they will crash into each other and can cause severe injury. There are safety systems such as trap points, in which the driver can use to try to avoid a collision. Unfortunately, it is not always feasible for the vehicles to access the safety systems in time.
- The most common type of collision occurs with cars at intersections. A collision with a vehicle at a crossing can cause a train derailment. Although collisions don’t always occur with other vehicles, such as was the case in the Polmont rail disaster in 1984. The accident happened when a train struck a cow and fell off its tracks, killing 13 people.
Common Carrier Accidents
These types of accidents are called common carrier accidents. There are strict guidelines and safety procedures that railroads must meet and follow, and if they do not, they are liable for any injuries that occur as a result of the accident. Those who have been harmed or families of a victim of a train derailment accident should consider speaking with a lawyer to understand their options.
Why File a Claim?
Filing a lawsuit may prevent reoccurring accidents by holding those at fault accountable for their negligence. It is a way to prevent more innocent lives from being affected because someone doesn’t follow proper safety procedures. A successful lawsuit can help compensate those who were hurt.