The Canadian National Railway runs through Neenah, Wisconsin and the surrounding area. Railroads have been part of the North American landscape for more than a century, playing a critical role in the logistics industry and the transportation of passengers, both daily commuters and those on long-distance trains.
Like all other types of public and private transportation, trains can have accidents. Sometimes, these accidents result in injuries to passengers, railroad workers, and bystanders. Victims of railroad accidents can face substantial economic damages as a result of their injuries, like high medical bills and lost wages. For many of these victims, seeking compensation through a personal injury claim is the key to avoiding economic hardship as the result of an injury.
Railroad accidents are often quite different from car and truck accidents because unlike cars and trucks, trains run on stationary tracks and must adhere to specific schedules. A train’s conductor plays a different role than a vehicle’s driver plays.
One type of accident that is specific to railroads is derailment. When a train comes off its tracks, it has derailed. Individuals on the train and around the track can suffer severe injuries or even be killed in a derailment.
Train accidents can also be the result of mechanical failure or human error. When a train’s brakes or another mechanical system fails, the train can collide with another train or a piece of stationary equipment. Poor communication between railroad staff members can also cause collisions on a railway track.
External forces can also be responsible for a railroad accident. For example, a stalled car on a train track or a suicide can cause a conductor to have to make an emergency stop, which could result in passengers being thrown from their seats or parties outside the train being injured by debris or contact with the train.
Like with other types of accidents, the party whose negligence caused a railroad accident to occur is liable for the victims’ damages. With a railroad accident, there are a few different parties that can potentially be found negligent. In some cases, more than one party may be deemed to be negligent.
In cases of human error, the railroad company that operated the train is most likely to be found negligent. Examples of this include poor safety training, poor communication between conductors and stations, and poor maintenance of the train itself.
When mechanical failure is to blame for an accident, parties seeking compensation must determine the cause of the failure. If the mechanical failure was due to a poorly maintained train, the company that operated the train may be liable for victims’ damages. If the mechanical failure occurred on the track, the company that owned or operated the railroad track may be the negligent party. In some cases, this is the same company that operated the train and in others, it is a different company or even a government agency. When a mechanical failure is due to a faulty part on the train or track, that part’s manufacturer may be held liable for the victims’ damages.
In some cases, such as accidents caused by vehicles stopped on train tracks, outside parties may be deemed to be negligent and thus liable for victims’ damages.
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, you could be entitled to receive monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about the personal injury claim process, contact our team of experienced personal injury lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC to schedule your initial consultation with us.