Every day, passenger trains transport millions of people across the country into and out of cities and across state lines. These passenger trains are operated by commuter lines as well as Amtrak. According to its website, Amtrak alone serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states with over 21,000 miles of routes. Last year Amtrak transported almost 29 million passengers.

Unfortunately train accidents on these carriers are all too common. Examples of such railroad accidents including include train derailments, trains hitting tractor-trailers or cars at crossings, trains hitting pedestrians, and collisions with other trains. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Office of Safety Analysis, 2375 train accidents occurred nationwide 2008. Tragically, 26 persons were killed and 278 were injured in those accidents.

At Doran & Murphy, PLLC, we have represented injured railroad passengers as well as railroad workers for decades in claims and lawsuits against Amtrak as well as commuter trains. The law imposes certain legal obligations on common carriers such as railroads which can vary from state to state. Choosing legal counsel experienced in railroad litigation is critical. We offer a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at our firm who can provide outstanding legal assistance. Because of our special focus on cases involving railroad injuries and accidents, we have developed an abundance of knowledge and skill in this field resulting in a reputation for excellence.

Our Track Record

Our successful track record includes a structured settlement in excess of $9,000,000 for the family of an elderly couple who died in a train derailment. Our lawyers have extensive experience in investigating the causes of these often preventable train accidents and train derailments. This thorough investigation process translates into significant compensation for our clients and is critical in establishing the railroad’s liability for the injury or death. It is important to remember that the law does not make the railroad responsible for all injuries under all circumstances. Rather, the law requires that the railroads take reasonable actions to prevent injury and death. Therefore, careful investigation must be done to examine whether any failure to use reasonable care on the part of the railroad occurred, such as any conductor negligence, engineer negligence, train defect, engine mechanical failure, or railroad track defects.

Common Causes of Train Accidents and Derailments

Railroad accidents are often the result of many causes including human error and equipment failure. That is why, if you have been injured in such a way, having the benefit of a train accident attorney who is proficient in railroad accident laws can be invaluable and make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your case. Freak accidents rarely occur where nothing could have been done to prevent an accident. Often the cause of a railroad accident is one of the following:

Driver Negligence

Train racing has resulted in a significant number of fatalities and serious injuries. Train racing refers to the actions of motorists who attempt to cross a railroad crossing before an approaching train arrives. Such an action is seriously dangerous, especially in view of the fact an optical illusion is often at play, in that trains can be much closer and moving faster than they appear.

Equipment Failure

Faulty equipment may contribute to or cause train accidents, including the following:

  • Malfunction of brakes
  • Malfunction of warning lights, sounds, and gates
  • Faulty communication equipment
  • Defective or broken handrails on locomotives or rail cars
  • Defective hand brakes
  • Defective or broken rails which can cause derailment

If you have been injured in a train accident or derailment or have lost a loved one in such an accident, getting skilled legal counsel is imperative. Let a train accident attorney at our firm use his knowledge and experience to help you today.

Human Error

An accident can result from conductor or engineer negligence. Examples of such negligence include being distracted by a cell phone or other workers, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, a worker who improperly switches tracks, workers who push train cars without following safety precautions, or leaving cars in a position unsafe for other cars functioning on the same or an adjacent track.