There are more than 5,000 train accidents in the United States every year, resulting in nearly 1,000 fatalities. Railroad derailments, when train cars run off the rails of their tracks, account for over 90% of these train accidents.
Railroad derailments often result in serious injuries to passengers, railroad employees, and bystanders. Many trains transport hazardous materials, so derailments can also result in toxic spills that have devastating consequences for local communities.
Railroad derailments can be caused by a combination of many factors, including:
- Inadequate maintenance of tracks, such as broken rails
- Excessive speed
- Debris on the railroad tracks
- Collisions with other trains
- Improperly maintained switches
- Train crew error
As common carriers, companies that transport members of the public for a fee, railroads are required to use the highest degree of care to prevent injury to their passengers. In addition to state law, the Federal Railroad Administration regulates safety throughout the railroad industry. The National Transportation Safety Board is generally responsible for investigating and determining the cause of railroad accidents.
After a railroad derailment, determining who was responsible and in what proportion is extremely complex. Railroad accident cases require expertise in all areas of the law, including product liability, negligence, and contract law. Your attorney needs to understand the physics and engineering of travel by rail and be well-versed in both state and federal law.
At DBJ, we have an extensive track record of successful cases against railroad companies. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in a railroad derailment, call our office today at 1-800-875-5972 to arrange a free consultation with one of our expert railroad injury attorneys.