Railroads are no longer a primary source of transportation, but they still play a vital role in our country’s infrastructure. Like with all other types of transportation, railroad accidents do happen and when they do, they can endanger the lives of passengers and anyone nearby. When train accidents do occur, victims are often able to pursue compensation for their losses with the help of an experienced train accident attorney.
Train Accidents in Ohio
Ohio is the heart of it all, and as such, there are many rail lines that pass through our state. There are over 140,000 miles of railroads running throughout Ohio, in fact. You might be surprised to learn that train accidents occur almost every week here. Unfortunately, Butler County has had more than its fair share of train accidents. Because these accidents are so common, it is critical for railways to utilize proper signage so that drivers of passenger vehicles as well as pedestrians are aware of the surrounding or impending danger.
Common Types of Train Accidents
Train accidents most commonly occur at crossings and intersections. The most common type of train accident involves trains colliding with other vehicles. For this reason, safety precautions like flashing lights and safety gates that alert drivers to the danger of oncoming trains are paramount to preventing train accidents.
Common Causes of Train Accidents
Statistics compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration reveal that there has been a substantial decrease in the number of train accidents over the last decade. While 2,000 train derailments occurred in the United State in 2007, a much lower number of train derailments occurred in 2017. Some of the most common causes of train accidents include the following:
- Defective warning signals. Railroad gates should have flashing lights as well as alarms. Failure to put in place adequate warning signals can result in motor vehicle operators crossing over railroad tracks in front of oncoming trains, resulting in deadly accidents.
- Human error. The most common cause of train accidents is human error. This can include engineers who are distracted, trains that are driven at excessive speeds, and train operators who do not brake promptly. Another example of human error is when train operators fail to signal to let other people know that the train is approaching.
- Improper sightlines. Anything that prevents motor vehicle drivers from seeing an oncoming train can result in deadly accidents. Overgrown trees and shrubbery can obstruct sight lines and result in deadly train accidents.
- When rails fall into disrepair, it can lead to train derailments. To avoid accidents, it is vital that all railways and the trains themselves be properly maintained.
- Mechanical failure. Mechanical failure occurs when trains are not adequately maintained or kept in working condition, and can often lead to deadly accidents.
- Objects on the track. When objects are encountered on railroad tracks, deadly accidents can occur. Some things that are commonly found on railroad tracks and lead to serious accidents include animals and motor vehicles.
Who is Liable for Train Accidents?
When train accidents occur, there are several parties that can be found liable, which include the following:
- Motor vehicle drivers can sometimes be responsible for train accidents. For example, if a driver attempts to beat a train across the tracks, it is likely that the driver would be found responsible.
- The company that operates the train has the responsibility of making sure that a train is operated in a safe manner. Failure to properly operate a train can lead to serious accidents.
- Sometimes, train manufacturers design trains with defects in their electrical or mechanical systems. Some of the most common defects involve brakes and coupling mechanisms.
- The owner of a railroad track must make certain that the track is properly maintained.
- If the condition of a road was responsible for a train accident, a city or county can be found responsible for an accident.
Advice on Preventing Train Accidents
Statistics reveal that trains hit people in the United States once every few hours. Some safety strategies that people should follow to avoid being struck by trains include the following:
- Avoid walking on or near train tracks
- If crossing train tracks in a vehicle, never stop on the tracks
- If crossing train tracks and a vehicle stalls, get out immediately and exit the area
- Look both ways before crossing a train track
- Never assume that a train track is not in use
- Only cross train tracks at appropriate areas
- Remain observant of warning signs about nearby trains
- Whenever crossing train tracks, assume there is a train coming
- Under no circumstances should any person attempt to beat a train across the tracks
- Understand that trains cannot stop quickly and that they will do substantial damage upon impact
Speak with an Experienced Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a train accident, do not hesitate to contact Kruger & Hodges today to schedule a free initial consultation.