Recent train accident statistics reveal that Ohio ranks sixth in the nation for railroad accidents. Since 2014, Ohio has been the site of 209 train accidents and, in just three weeks last summer, three more Ohioan men lost their lives in three separate train incidents. After many railroad accidents, injured victims or their families often need the services of a train accident lawyer to navigate their way through the ensuing legal case.
Tragically, most train-versus-human incidents are deadly; trains of any sort weigh thousands of tons and slowing or stopping them often requires more than a mile. Pedestrians or vehicles that fail to clear the tracks in time suffer devastating damage and injuries when struck. Bystanders or people crossing unprotected train crossings are often the victims of inadvertent train impacts.
No two train incidents are alike. The most common causes of train accidents today include:
- Mechanical failures
- Malformed track issues
- Train operator errors
The record reflects that humans cause incidents, too, due to inattention or negligence. Excessive speed apparently caused the December 2017 derailment of an Amtrak train in Washington state; its recorder showed the train was traveling at 80 miles per hour within a 30 mile-per-hour zone. Whether that speed was the result of human error or mechanical failure has yet to be determined.
The extent of the damage and injuries caused by the Amtrak incident are still unknown as well. Three of the passengers were killed, and 62 of the 82 people onboard, including five crew and service members, were taken to the hospital. Eight people on the ground were also injured. Because train passengers and crew are not strapped in during travel, any impediment to forward momentum can cause them to fly about the cabins. Impacts with the train car’s interiors, therefore, often cause blunt force trauma injuries, which can include broken bones or even severe brain injury or death.
Whenever a train incident occurs, there are always legal issues that arise from it. Railroad companies are common carriers and have a duty to provide the safest standard of travel possible. When an accident reveals lapses in that standard, injured passengers, workers and bystanders have a right to be compensated for their injuries. Families that lose their family members to a train incident may also be eligible for wrongful death compensation. Railroad accident lawyers are familiar with the standards required of railroad operators and can help injured people or their families obtain the legal remedies they deserve when they or a loved one is injured in a train accident.