The United States has an estimated 209,000 railway crossings spread across over 600 railroads. Although train travel is not as common in this era, the nationâ€™s railroads remain fairly active with commercial freight and, like any transport medium, experience their share of collisions and related accidents.
Railroad crossing accidents are typically catastrophic events. A review of NHTSA statistics on the number of fatalities in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions compared to deaths in vehicle-to-train crashes reveals that motorists are nearly 20 times more likely to be killed in an accident involving a train. Even low-speed collisions carry a higher risk of disability or death.
Common causes of railroad crossing injuries include but are not limited to:
- Mechanical defects and errors: Many railway crossing collisions involve a train with defective brakes, controls, and other mechanical issues. Crossing alarm failures have also caused accidents.
- Train operator error: Statistics indicate that human error accounts for nearly 35% of all car-train collisions. Train operators have been distracted by their cell phones or conversations with fellow employees. Tight work schedules and long days have also left operators inattentive due to exhaustion.
- High speeds: The chances of a train derailment increases exponentially if the train is traveling at high speeds. A recent example is the 2015 Amtrak crash that killed eight people and injured many others.
- Defective crossing gate: When a train approaches a railroad crossing, the two crossing gates should lower to prevent a vehicle from being caught on the tracks. Unfortunately, some of them malfunction and stay up, which can lead to a vehicle getting stuck on the crossing.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a railroad crossing accident, contact a New York railway crossing injury attorney who can help you hold the negligent party responsible for the damages you have suffered. Survivors of catastrophic accidents routinely experience severe psychological and emotional suffering in addition to major physical injuries that run the gamut from broken bones to paralysis and brain damage.
Regardless of how severe or minor your injuries may be, your personal injury attorney can help you obtain the financial compensation you need for current and future medical bills, rehabilitative therapy, assistive devices, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages.
In the aftermath of a railroad crossing accident, it can be difficult to determine the cause and even the parties responsible, as in many instances there are several potential defendants, each one equally determined to avoid liability. Whether your trauma is attributable to mechanical defect or human error, your attorney will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you need and are entitled to.