Train and railroad accidents often conjure images of collisions with passenger vehicles at railroad crossings or serious train derailments. While these certainly can cause serious injury and devastation, many overlook less newsworthy rail accidents, which still may cause injury. Whatever the cause of your train or rail accident, you may be entitled to compensation from a negligent party responsible for the accident.
Causes of Train and Railroad Accidents
In the state of Washington, there have been some major rail and train accidents in recent years. According to the Emergency Management Division of the Washington Military Department, one railway accident in 1993 was caused by the head-on collision of two trains. In another incident, a landslide pushed five freight cars into Puget Sound in 1997.
But other accidents may include striking an individual on a train platform, minor derailments and more. Many train accidents are caused by preventable human errors or defective equipment/machinery. For example, mechanical or electrical failure of a train or track, structural defects in a track, a train driver falling asleep, communication errors (signaling errors, for example) and driver inexperience can cause train accidents.
Injuries Causes by Train and Railroad Accidents
Tragically, serious train and railroad accidents can be deadly for those involved, whether train workers, train passengers, pedestrians or bystanders. A train accident may cause neck injuries (whiplash) to passengers, back injuries, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal injuries and more. In the case that a train or railroad explosion occurs, those involved may sustain burn injuries and internal injuries caused by smoke inhalation and other toxic chemicals.
Who’s Liable for Train and Railroad Accidents?
If a train involved in an accident is a passenger train, then it is known as what Washington State calls a common carrier. According to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, a common carrier is any company or person that transports property, other than household goods, for compensation. A common carrier has a duty to transport people or goods in a safe manner. If a passenger train is involved in an accident caused by the irresponsible actions of the train conductor, then the conductor may be liable for any injuries and damages. The conductor employer also may be liable.
If a train or railroad accident instead is caused by defective electrical or mechanical equipment, though, then the manufacturer, distributor or maintenance company responsible for the defect may be liable. If liability is proven, then those who are injured may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. If a family member has been killed in a train or railroad accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for your loved one’s funeral expenses, loss of income, loss of companionship and more.
Speak with an Injury Attorney Today at Ron Meyers & Associates
In order to recover compensation, you first will have to prove negligence and liability of the person or company responsible for the train or railroad accident. Get help doing so by securing legal representation from an attorney familiar with train and rail accidents and the laws that dictate recovery of compensation for damages.
At Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC, our attorneys know how devastating a train or railroad accident can be, and we’re prepared to utilize any available resources to help you take legal action. If you’ve been involved in a train or railroad accident in which you sustained injuries, or if you lost a loved one in such an accident, our legal team can help you recover the money you need.