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Missouri Train Accident Lawyer

Train accidents are notorious for causing devastating and often deadly injuries. Collisions with other trains or vehicles are especially dangerous, causing catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and severe burns, all of which can leave injured parties permanently disabled and in some cases, can even cost them their lives. Tragically, these types of accidents are often preventable, as they are purely the result of someone’s negligent conduct. Whether your accident was caused by an engineering error, another driver’s negligence, or a railway company’s failure to keep passengers safe, you may qualify for compensation. To learn more about filing a claim, please contact one of our Missouri train accident lawyers today.

Types of Train Accidents

Most train accidents involve only a single train and occur when a track defect or a railway employee error causes the train to derail. Although derailments don’t always involve a collision with another object, they still can and do cause serious injuries, especially if the train was hauling hazardous or toxic cargo. For instance, if the train tips over after derailing, these substances could break loose, exposing employees and bystanders to chemical burns and other injuries. In some situations, these toxic spills have even ignited, starting dangerous fires. Alternatively, a train may collide with an obstruction on the tracks, such as a pedestrian or a stalled vehicle. Unlike derailments, these types of accidents almost always result in serious injuries and cause extensive damage to nearby property.

Typical Injuries

Although many passengers, railway employees, and bystanders suffer from minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises after an accident, it is much more common for accident victims to sustain severe, and even deadly injuries, such as:

  • Severe lacerations;
  • Amputations;
  • Shattered or crushed bones;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
  • Burns; and
  • Organ damage and internal bleeding.

Treating these types of serious injuries is extremely expensive, often requiring accident victims to foot the bill for multiple surgeries, appointments with specialists, and prolonged hospital stays. Even after receiving treatment, many injured parties are also forced to struggle through painful rehabilitation and related injuries. Those who must undergo surgery or who suffer serious burns, for example, are at risk of infection that can significantly set back healing. Many of those who are injured in these types of accidents also suffer from emotional trauma, which can manifest as depression, anxiety, or insomnia and must meet with a therapist or begin taking prescription medications. These costs can quickly add up to overwhelm a victim’s finances, making it especially important for these individuals to retain an attorney who can help them seek compensation for their losses.

Who is Liable?

Most train accidents are the result of at least one party’s negligence. For instance, many accidents stem from employee negligence, such as traveling at excessive speeds or ignoring track signals. Other examples of human error that cause or contribute to train accidents include improperly aligning railroad switches, braking improperly, and failing to release the handbrake. Whether this conduct was caused by a lack of training, distraction, or a general lack of care, the results can be catastrophic. Both railway employees and their employers can be held liable for damages in these cases.

Some accidents, on the other hand, can be attributed not to an engineer or conductor’s negligence, but to a lack of care on the part of the railway company itself. In fact, it is estimated that as many as one-third of all train accidents are caused by a track defect, such as:

  • Broken welding;
  • Bolt hole cracks;
  • Breaks and cracks in the base of the rails themselves;
  • Fractures in the rail heads; and
  • Flattened rails.

Many of these defects are caused by regular wear and tear or as a result of harsh weather conditions. However, even when the problems cannot be linked to a manufacturer’s defect, railway companies can be held accountable for failing to repair them. This is because federal law requires private train companies and government bodies to regularly inspect tracks to ensure that they are in good condition. This also includes a duty to remove any vegetation or shrubbery that could limit a train operator’s view. Railroad crossings must also be kept clear and equipped with operable signals and barriers. Entities that fail to take these steps put hundreds of people at risk of suffering serious injury and can be held accountable for their negligence by paying damages to the injured parties.

Reach Out to a Talented Train Accident Lawyer in Missouri

Please contact one of the experienced Missouri train accident attorneys at Pottroff & Karlin, LLC about your accident. A member of our legal team can be reached at 785-539-4656.

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