According to the Bureau of Transportation statistics, there are over 14,000 train accidents anually. A pedestrian or vehicle is struck by a train nearly every 2 hours.
Train accidents occur for a variety of reasons. An aggressive driver may try to “beat a train.” A train may suffer from mechanical failure and/or negligence in operation. The railway crossing may be covered with debris or the crossing signal may malfunction or be insufficient. In fact, more than 50% of fatal train accidents occur at railroad crossings with passive or inadequate safety devices. Additional causes of train accidents include: inadequate fencing, defective tracks, and rail cars carrying excess cargo loads.
Train accidents all too often result in tragedy and/or extremely devastating injuries. Train and railroad accidents can be very complex, which is why it is very important that you contact an attorney with experience in this area of practice. The law tends to be quite specialized and arcane. The attorneys at Suk Law Firm have represented numerous railroad and train accident victims and their families for over 40 years. If you have been injured in a accident involving a railroad and/or train, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
There are varying statutes of limitations for accidents involving trains; therefore, it is crucial that you take action as soon as possible to preserve evidence, contact witnesses, and ensure that your rights are protected.
Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians
- Expect a train at any time. Always look and listen for trains at every railway crossing. Freight trains do not travel at fixed times.
- The only legal, safe place to cross railroad tracks is at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
- Trains can move in either direction, so look both ways before crossing.
- Be sure to stop far enough behind a lowered gate so that if a car hits you from behind, you will not be pushed onto the tracks.
- Never drive onto a grade crossing until you can be sure you can clear the tracks.
- Instruct children to never play on or near railroad tracks.
- Trains can extend three feet or more beyond the tracks, so pedestrians should be sure to stand back a sufficient distance as a train is approaching.