New York Train Accident Lawyers
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, approximately 824 train accidents occurred across the country in 2016 alone. Tragically, 8,231 people were injured in these accidents and 792 lost their lives. Although nothing can compensate the families of these victims for their loss, collecting damages from the at-fault parties can go a long way towards enabling them to cover mounting medical debt or other expenses and so allow them to grieve without this financial burden. Unfortunately, train accident claims are notoriously complex, as they almost always involve the negligence of more than one party. Furthermore, insurers and railway companies can make it extremely difficult to gather evidence, so those whose loved ones sustained an injury in a train collision are strongly encouraged to retain an experienced New York train accident attorney who will aggressively represent their interests, whether in settlement proceedings or in the courtroom.
Types of Train Accidents
Although there are a variety of types of train crashes, the most common occur at crossings with vehicles or pedestrians or involve derailment. Both situations are almost always the result of at least one party’s negligence. For example, if a railroad crossing was unprotected and a driver had no warning that a train was approaching, the city or railway company responsible for designing the crossing could be required to compensate the victims of the accident. The other most common causes of train accidents include:
- Conductor error due to intoxication, lack of training, fatigue, or distraction;
- Mechanical failure resulting from a defectively designed or manufactured part or a failure to properly maintain the train’s equipment;
- Driver negligence in failing to acknowledge warning signals;
- A railway company’s failure to maintain the tracks themselves by conducting regular inspections as required by federal law, clearing foliage at important crossings, and replacing all worn or damaged rails, bolts, and cross ties;
- A railroad owner’s failure to keep crossing guardrails, lights, and signals in working order;
- A company’s failure to ensure that emergency and safety equipment are kept on-board all trains;
- The government agency or contractor responsible for designing an unsafe route or using inferior materials during construction;
- A railroad company’s failure to ensure that employees and crew members were properly trained and supervised; and
- A train owner’s failure to update equipment and train parts as necessary.
Determining who was at fault for a crash can be an extremely difficult process, especially if multiple parties were negligent, as it then becomes necessary to assign percentages of fault. Fortunately, our firm has the experience and resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of your accident, which includes an in-depth look at the railroad’s maintenance record, hiring practices, training requirements, and work hours. This will help us determine whether the workplace was promoting safety by ensuring that employees were not only well rested, but also properly trained. If this analysis uncovers evidence that the train company was negligent, we will attempt to hold those parties responsible for your losses.
Train Accident Injuries
Trains weigh as much as 400,000 pounds and can extend as far as three feet beyond the rails of the tracks themselves. For these reasons, train accidents tend to result in especially devastating injuries, although their severity will depend on the specific type of collision. Head-on crashes, for example, usually result in the tragic deaths of multiple employees and passengers. Derailments can also be extremely dangerous, especially if they occur at high speeds and the train tips over during the crash. Crashes where hazardous cargo was spilled also put not only train employees at risk, but also anyone in nearby communities who could be exposed to dangerous and often deadly chemicals or gases. The severity of injuries also depends on how fast the train was traveling prior to the crash, as well as the age and general health of the victim. However, there are certain types of injuries that are especially common and occur in most severe train accidents, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, severe burns, crushed or broken bones, severe lacerations, and amputations.
These types of catastrophic injuries are prohibitively expensive to treat. Even broken bones could require hospitalization, multiple scans, surgical repair, and physical therapy, all of which can quickly overwhelm a victim’s finances. This is doubly true for those who sustain traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, as these types of injuries, even if they fully heal, often leave victims suffering from side effects for years to come. Many spinal cord injuries, for instance, result in permanent partial or total paralysis, meaning that an injured party will require specialized medical equipment even when able to return to the hospital.
Paying these types of medical bills on top of household expenses can quickly drive a family into debt, especially if the injured party was the sole source of income for a family or contributed a significant amount to providing childcare services. In the tragic event that an injured party passes away as a result of his or her injuries, the surviving family members will be required to pay funeral and burial costs on top of medical bills, while also suffering from lost income. No family should have to bear these burdens on their own, especially in train accidents when their loved one was not at fault for causing the crash. Filing a claim against the negligent parties is often the only way to recoup financial losses and begin the long process of recovery, so if you were injured in a train accident or lost a loved one in a collision, please contact our firm today for more information on your legal options.
Get the Legal Representation You Deserve
To schedule a free case evaluation with a dedicated train accident attorney who is well-versed in both New York and federal law, please contact Pottroff & Karlin, LLC today. A member of our legal team can be reached by calling 785-539-4656 or by sending an online message that includes a brief description of your case and your contact information. We are standing by and eager to help you through each step of your case.