History of Train Accidents

The United States was captivated by the idea of train travel from the time the first tracks were laid. From the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, with its famous golden spike, to the construction of elevated trains above Chicago, trains have long been a favorite way for us to travel with convenience.

But every different phase of railway travel, whether steam, diesel, or electric, has been plagued by the threat of many different kinds of accidents:

  • Faulty track construction and maintenance

  • Failure to keep engines in good running condition

  • Drivers disregarding safety protocols

  • Control personnel sending wrong messages to drivers

  • Deliberate attacks on trains (terrorism)

Today, fortunately there are clear paths for victims of train accidents to gain compensation for their injuries. In New Mexico, Killian Davis Richter & Mayle offer the services of personal injury attorneys who know how to get these victims the restitution they deserve quickly.

The Nature of Train Accidents

When you think of a train accident, your first impression is probably of a spectacular crash. Devastating crashes between trains are certainly the ones that make it into the news headlines, but there are other ways that people can be injured or killed on or around trains:

  • Trains and cars can collide at road crossings if signaling devices are not maintained or if visibility at the crossing is restricted by overgrown foliage.

  • Trains can become derailed if there are objects on the tracks or the tracks are damaged.

  • Drivers who use poor techniques (braking too fast, etc.) can cause injury to passengers without a crash even occurring. These minor incidents are difficult for plaintiffs to prove, and require the help of skilled personal injury lawyers.

  • Hazardous materials on board trains can ignite or leak, endangering the lives of people near the railroad.

It is rare that a train accident is unpreventable or due entirely to the influence of nature. In most cases, a manufacturer, maintenance crew, driver, controller, or owner acts in a negligent way that opens the door for an accident to happen.

Litigating over Train Accidents

As in any transportation accident, victims often receive an initial offer from the responsible insurance company, which is most likely too small to cover the expenses of recovery. Getting fair compensation for injuries or wrongful death suffered in a train accident is very difficult, for several different reasons:

  • Minor injuries caused by sudden, jerky movements on the train are difficult to detect and trace back to their causes.

  • Recreating accidents at road crossings is complex and difficult, requiring a great deal of evidence and witness testimony.

  • As well-funded companies (or, in some cases, the federal government itself), train owners can afford to hire very skillful defense attorneys to oppose the efforts of plaintiffs to win a fair settlement for injuries.

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