Railroad Accident Injuries
Railroad accidents involving train derailments, equipment failure or collisions with other trains, pedestrians or vehicles seem to be more and more frequent and can result in catastrophic injuries, large numbers of deaths and a tremendous amount of property damage.
Whether a railroad accident was caused by mechanical failure or human error, there are many possibilities for the types of personal injury claims and lawsuits that may be filed to help victims of railroad accidents and their families receive compensation and start to rebuild their lives.
Startling Statistics About Railroad Accidents
In the United States, statistics show that approximately every two hours a railroad accident occurs in which a pedestrian or vehicle is struck by a train.
In 2007, there were 13,067 railroad related accidents, according to the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis.
These railroad accidents resulted in 851 deaths and 8,801 non-fatal injuries. Of the deaths, 338 occurred at highway railroad crossings and 473 were a result of trespassing on railroad rights-of-way and property.
The statistics show that of the railroad accident injuries in 2007, 1,031 happened at highway railroad crossings and 398 of the injuries occurred due to trespassing.
Causes of Railroad Accidents Causing Injuries and Deaths
The primary causes of train crashes and derailments that resulted in deaths and injuries in 2007 were:
- Human Factors, causing 38.2% of railroad accidents;
- Track Defects, causing 34.94% of railroad accidents;
- Miscellaneous Causes, causing 12.81% of railroad accidents;
- Equipment Defects, causing 12.27% of railroad accidents; and
- Signal Defects, causing 1.76% of railroad accidents.
From January to March of 2008, there have been a record number of railroad accidents. These accidents have injured almost 2,000 people and killed nearly 200 people.
More than half of these railroad accidents have been caused by trespassers on railroad property and rights-of-way, and more than 60 percent of the injuries have been suffered by railroad employees.
People who trespass on railroad property and cause crashes that result in death and injuries may be criminally prosecuted, and personal injury lawsuits may be filed against them as a result of the injuries and deaths.
Railroad Accident Injuries
The victims of railroad accidents can suffer injuries similar to those sustained in other motor vehicle accidents. Common injuries as a result of railroad accidents include brain trauma and spinal cord injuries, concussions and other head injuries, sprains, fractures, abrasions, burn injuries and internal and soft tissue injuries.
On-the-Job Railroad Accident Injuries
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) allows railroad employees who are injured in work-related railroad accidents to file a lawsuit in order to recover damages from his or her employer when negligence of the employer or another railroad employee caused the injury.
FELA provides special protection for railroad employees under Federal law and allows injured railroad employees to bypass Workers' Compensation, which is usually the sole remedy in cases involving work-related injuries.
Under FELA, injured railroad employees may also recover punitive damages that they would not be entitled to under Workers' Compensation laws. FELA is a complicated statute, therefore injured railroad employees are urged to speak with a FELA lawyer in order to protect their legal rights.
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