A train accident is a very serious event that often results in catastrophic injuries and death. The weight of a multi-car train and the speed at which it travels along a railway makes it virtually impossible to stop suddenly. Debris on the train tracks, vehicles crossing against warning signals, distracted train operators, and faulty equipment can cause trains to derail or collide. When this happens, large numbers of passengers, motorists, and pedestrians are injured or killed.
The experienced team of Wilmington train accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have been helping train accident victims claim justice for over 30 years. Attorneys at the firm are dedicated to recovering the maximum amount of compensation available to their clients.
Train accidents can involve commuter trains, passenger trains, freight trains, and common carriers. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railway Association report an average of 2,500 train accidents each year. Some result in minor injuries while others cause large numbers of serious or catastrophic injuries and death.
Damaged or poorly maintained railroad tracks, animals that wander into the path of an oncoming train, or poor weather conditions like snow and ice can force a train off its tracks. Derailments are often catastrophic since they occur suddenly when trains are traveling at top speed. When a train leaves the tracks, the momentum and force of the impact can throw passengers out of their seats or eject them from the train.
Distracted and negligent train operators and railway traffic control officers can cause trains to collide when signals of oncoming traffic are missed. When trains collide, the impact is devastating to those traveling in the train cars and conductor’s cabin. Train crashes can also occur when conductors are speeding or fail to operate the train in a safe manner.
Trains often collide with pedestrians or passenger vehicles at railroad crossings. Most intersections have warning lights and signals that alert others to an oncoming train. Unfortunately, many will ignore these signals and try to beat the train by crossing against warning signals. When this happens, pedestrians and those in passenger vehicles may be killed when they are struck by the oncoming train.
Locomotives that are not properly maintained can suffer mechanical failures that result in a train crash. The Federal Railway Association requires routine inspection and maintenance on all trains. Failure to do so can cause mechanical failures that result in collisions and derailments. Faulty brakes are common causes of these types of accidents.
Victims injured in train accidents often suffer serious injuries that may be fatal. Passenger trains are not required to supply restraint systems such as seat belts to their passengers. Many commuter trains travel at high speeds and have passengers who stand while the train is operating. When an accident occurs, passengers can be thrown into sharp metal surfaces, against glass windows, or may be ejected from the train car.
Passengers are also injured while boarding and exiting trains. Commuters in a hurry to catch a train that may be departing from a station can get caught between closing doors, or between the platform and the train itself. Objects such as clothing, purses, and briefcases can get caught on doors or seats. Train conductors that fail to make sure all passengers have boarded or exited the train before moving can cause serious injuries.
Bystanders and pedestrians are often harmed when trains derail or spill hazardous chemicals. Those walking along train tracks need to keep a safe distance from the track and remain vigilant to oncoming trains. Always heed warning signals and never walk on train tracks to avoid being struck by a train.
Even when railway workers are properly trained, accidents happen to those working on or near trains. Injuries can occur from falls off a moving or stationary train, limbs can be amputated when they come into contact with heavy machinery or mechanical parts, and burn injuries can occur from hazardous chemicals and hot steam or liquids. The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) compensates injured workers and their families in the event that the worker is injured or killed on the job due to the fault or negligence of the railway company.
If you have been injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a train accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have over 30 years experience helping accident victims and their families claim the justice and compensation they deserve.
Call us today at (302) 427-9500, or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a compassionate and highly skilled Delaware train accident lawyer. Our Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware offices serve clients throughout the state, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford, as well as New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.