According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there are some 14,000 train accidents resulting in more than 9,000 injuries and 800 deaths every year in the United States. A train accident includes passenger trains, subways or local light rail systems. A train accident can happen at railroad crossings where safety equipment fails or at crossings that are altogether unprotected.
The Federal Railroad Administration also estimates there are approximately 2,000 train derailments throughout the United States every year. These derailments can cause serious injury or death, particularly if the train is carrying hazardous substances.
Collisions Between Trains And Motor Vehicles
Every three hours a person is hit by a train in the United States. In fact, Michigan has historically been among the top 10 states for train-vehicle collisions.
In collisions between vehicles and trains, the occupants of passenger vehicles face significant risk of death or severe injury. A modern freight train can weigh between 4,000 and 8,000 tons with a typical load. Understandably, the damage that can be inflicted on a motor vehicle by a train of this size and weight can be catastrophic.
Train Accident At Railroad Crossing
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, about 40 percent of all public railroad crossings are not protected by lights and safety gates. Unprotected railroad crossings pose a major threat, especially in populated areas where railroad lines cross major roads. In fact, the risk of a train accident is seven times greater at crossings without gates than at crossings with gates.
In train accident cases, if it can be proven that the rail company was in some way responsible for the accident, such as a failure to obey rail speed limits or failure to replace a faulty crossing gate, there may be legal liability to the injured person.
There are also cases involving serious injury or death that occur because of collisions between two trains. In cases where a train has collided with another train or crashed as a result of human error or a mechanical defect, the train company may be legally liable. In certain circumstances, liability may also exist where a pedestrian is injured by a train if the train was being operated negligently.
In A Train Accident? Protect Your Rights
In any accident involving injury or death arising out of the operation of a train or other railroad device, it is essential that legal advice be sought. The Sinas Dramis team of Michigan personal injury attorneys in Lansing and Grand Rapids has the experience you need to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
The first step is for you to know your legal rights. In this section of our website, we help you better understand the law on Michigan train accident injuries. In this video, Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer Tom Sinas talks about railroad safety and the laws that govern crossings, tracks and rail yards.