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.

Railroad News
November 29, 2023

California Pedestrian Killed by Amtrak Train on BNSF Tracks

November 27, 2023

Six Amtrak Passengers Injured and Derailment Ensues After Failure to Notify Amtrak Trains of Vehicle Stuck on the Tracks


Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James PerrinLubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluenHarriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. MillerMandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. ClarkAustin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert SchuetzeBoulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike EasleyArkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger BrownJefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth HardyLake Charles, Louisiana