Railroad Accidents: A Closer Look At Causes And Prevention

Few things cause personal loss and widespread damage like a railroad accident. Whether it’s a derailment, toxic spill or collision, these accidents can wreak havoc on the environment while endangering the lives and safety of nearby residents and motorists. For victims of railroad accidents, it may seem that the railroads are too big to win damages against. That’s why it’s paramount that you hire a knowledgeable railroad accident attorney that can help prove that the railroad is liable for your injuries and help you recover maximum compensation.

At the Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we understand how devastating a railroad accident can be and work tirelessly to help victims recover. Understanding and negotiating railroad settlements takes special skills and a greater understanding of Texas personal injury law. Colby Lewis has proven performance as a capable railroad accident lawyer and can help tip the scales in your favor when going against Big Railroad. 

Through the history of railroad accidents to damages you may be entitled to, we know railroad accident cases. Here, we delve deep into railroad catastrophes to give you a solid understanding of why these accidents happen and what you can do to prevent them. 

Railroad Accident Facts

As of October 2023, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has reported 742 train derailments. These railroad accidents can cause damage to the environment, property damage and even loss of life; since 1975, 467 people have lost their lives as a result of railroad accidents.

Texans are even more susceptible to being involved in a railroad accident as Texas is one of the top 3 states with the highest number of derailments in the nation. 

For an example of the devastation a railroad accident can cause, look no further than East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, 2023. There, a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed, spreading smoke and particulate matter into the air and waterways. The lasting catastrophic effects caused by the Norfolk Southern derailment put railroads and railroad accidents in an even harsher light, as evacuated community members questioned the safety of such operations in their areas. 

Types of Railroad Accidents

The most common type of railroad accident by far – making up 71% of all accidents – is a train derailment, with 135,507 occurring since 1975. Derailments most typically occur because of broken rails or welds. Other types of railroad accidents include:

  • Impacts
  • Side collision
  • Highway rail crossing
  • Obstruction
  • Fire/violent rupture
  • Raking collision
  • Rear end collision
  • Head on collision
  • Explosion detonation
  • Toxic spills
  • Other accidents

Because of the size, weight and speed of trains, accidents tend to have major losses of life and property. The environmental impact of accidents can sometimes be felt for hundreds of miles as the wind carries smoke and particulate matter far across the land and waterways. 

Preventing Railroad Accidents

Approximately 30% of all railroad accidents are caused by human error. Whether it is a crew member failing to perform their duty or another motorist’s error, railroad accidents often have far reaching negative consequences. 

As such, it’s vital that you have proper railroad accident prevention tips to keep you safe on the roads. Follow these tips when driving near railroad tracks to prevent deadly accidents:

  • Never stop on the tracks
  • Give yourself adequate time to cross
  • Stay alert at crossings
  • Look both ways before crossing
  • Never walk or play on the tracks

By practicing these basic railroad safety tips, you can help prevent railroad accidents in your area.

Help for Victims of Railroad Accidents

If you’ve been injured in a railroad accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Whether that compensation comes from an insurance settlement or is brought about by a lawsuit depends on the unique circumstances of your case. Damages you may be eligible for include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death
  • Other damages

There are limitations to the amount of compensation you can recover from railroad accidents: in 1997, Congress capped the total amount of damages that could be sought from victims of train accidents at $200 million. This amount was later raised to $295 million

However, this number is the maximum amount all of the plaintiffs in a single accident can recover together, no matter how many deaths or injuries occur. Because there is a limited pool of compensation available and your injuries may be extensive, it’s crucial that you obtain the services of a qualified Texas railroad accident attorney to help ensure that you are able to recover maximum compensation. 

Employee Victims of the Railroads

If you are an employee and a victim of a railroad accident, your legal journey will look different than a non-employee. Employees are covered by The Federal Employers Liability Act that makes it easier for them to recover in the event of an accident. Further, the cap on damages doesn’t apply to employees. To get specialized help for your employee-involved railroad accident, contact the Law Offices of Colby Lewis. 

Texas Railroad Accident Lawyer Colby Lewis Fights Big Railroads For You

When you’ve been injured in a Texas railroad accident, you need an experienced Texas railroad accident attorney by your side. Clients just like you turn to Colby Lewis in the aftermath of a railroad accident to entrust him with the handling of their cases because they know that he will fight the Big Railroads to get them the compensation they deserve. With Colby Lewis, expertise and compassionate representation are just a call or click away – contact the Law Offices of Colby Lewis for your full case evaluation today.