From transporting merchandise and goods to daily transportation and cross-country travel, trains and railroads are an essential part of our transportation system. Railroads are constantly in use each and every day all over the country, but there are several components that go into ensuring that railroads are running effectively and safely. Otherwise, someone can easily get hurt. Unfortunately, these railroad accidents can and do happen, and they can put many people at risk: railroad workers, passengers, and even people who are on foot and near railroad tracks when a railroad accident occurs.
Some railroad accidents over the years have made headlines, including a deadly derailment in 2015 near Philadelphia. The crash, which ultimately resulted in criminal charges against the engineer operating the passenger train, is a clear demonstration of how negligence can cause a serious railroad accident. An investigation uncovered that in this particular derailment, the engineer was operating the train too fast during a turn, resulting in the train’s derailment. This one crash alone injured hundreds of people onboard and killed eight.
Passengers aren’t the only ones at risk in a railroad accident, either: the lives of railroad workers are also put on the line. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 1,221 workers died from railroad accidents over a recent nine-year period. Non-railroading workers made up more than half of these deaths at 62 percent, with workers in the railroad transportation industry making up 24 percent. Railroading workers in other industries made up 14 percent of these fatalities. Although anyone working in the railroad industry can potentially be at risk, the organization also reports that the most hazardous railroad jobs and those most at risk for death include rail transportation occupations, such as locomotive operators, those who operate brakes, signals, and switches, conductors, and yardmasters. One of the most common causes of fatal work-related railroad accidents is railroads colliding with other vehicles and at-grade crossing accidents.
Other causes of railroad accidents include:
- Human factors, such as conductor fatigue and other negligent acts
- Equipment issues
- Track issues, which may result in derailment
- Crossing incidents, such as colliding with cars and pedestrians
- Issues with signaling
As these common causes indicate, railroad accidents tend to result from human error or equipment errors. In a way, equipment errors can sometimes also be classified as human errors, depending on the circumstances. For example, if a piece of railroad equipment is defective and nobody noticed until an accident occurred, a negligent third party may be to blame for overlooking the defect. On the other hand, if a worker neglected to adequately maintain essential pieces of railroad equipment, and this lack of maintenance results in a railroad accident that causes injury or death, a railroad accident lawsuit may result.
In just one recent year, it has been reported that in total, there were 1,848 railroad accidents. Although this is a significant number, the number of railroad accidents has steadily gone down over the years as more and more safety measures are taken. For example, in the year 1975, there were 7,793 reported railroad accidents. These numbers clearly show that railroad accidents continue to go down year after year, but the numbers of accidents, injuries, and fatalities are still alarmingly high, especially when these incidents could have easily been prevented.
Railroad accidents tend to be serious and can result in severe injury or death. Several different departments are responsible for safe railroad transport, including engineering, maintenance, and so on. If just one person is negligent or overlooks something important, a tragic railroad accident can result. Because the injuries from a railroad accident have the potential to be serious, they may result in severe pain, costly and invasive treatments, and significant recoveries. As an accident victim, you may already be working with a personal injury attorney to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit if someone else has been found responsible for your railroad accident injury.
Tragically, railroad accidents can also be fatal. If you lost a loved one in a railroad accident due to the negligence of another, you may be working with an attorney and pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Whether you are currently waiting on a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit to settle, the waiting period can be financially difficult for many plaintiffs and their families. After all, victims of accidents, including railroad accidents, often count on receiving this money to take care of bills and expenses. At USClaims, we help plaintiffs in this situation by offering a solution that enables them to get settlement money upfront: pre-settlement funding. This process is also commonly referred to as a lawsuit advance and is a risk-free way to get money faster. To find out if your case is eligible and to learn more about the process, contact USClaims today.