Railroad and Train Accidents

Train accidents can easily result in serious injury or death; they are almost always devastating because of the mass and inertia of the average train.  If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost a family member in a train accident, you should speak to a personal injury and Texas train accident attorney who can explain your legal rights regarding recovering monetary damages.

The law firm of The Law Offices of Adrian Crane represents injured clients only on a contingency basis and therefore does not charge money up front; there are no fees if we do not obtain compensation for you.  We always offer a free no-obligation consultation to potential clients.

Train Accidents and Derailments

There are over six hundred different railroads and hundreds of thousands of miles of railroad tracks crossing the United States.  Most of this is used for the transportation of freight which includes cars, chemicals, merchandise and food.  Trains carrying toxic chemicals are of particular threat when involved in accidents.  

Passenger trains use only a fraction of the railroads and they too, are involved in collisions, derailments and other types of accidents, and when they are sometimes hundreds of passengers are injured.  Intoxication and negligence on the part of engineers, inadequate rail maintenance, and unsafe operators are a few of causes for train accidents.  Vehicles crossing the tracks at the wrong time also cause collisions.  

Train travel has increased substantially in Texas in the past decade.  Commuters often rely on local trains to get them to and from work and school every day.  Of course, with more use comes increased risk of accidents.  When these accidents do occur, they may result in terrible injury to those involved as well as deaths.

Railroad accidents may also result in hazardous chemical and material spills. These types of accidents often occur as a result of collisions with passenger vehicles, buses or trucks, collisions with other trains and train derailments.

Federal Railroad Administration

The Federal Railroad Administration keeps track of the number and causes of incidents that occur in the railroad industry including both injuries and deaths, both to railroad workers and train passengers.   On average about 600 train-related fatalities occur every year.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a collision between a passenger car and a train increases the passenger car’s risk of death about forty times as compared to a collision with another car.

Collisions between passenger cars and trains occur for many reasons.  The risk of an accident with a train can be reduced in the following ways:

  • Look for more than one set of tracks and be sure that all of them are clear.
  • If crossing arms have been lowered or if red lights are flashing, stop.
  • Never try to beat a train through a crossing.  Judging speed is dangerous and difficult.
  • Reduce speed at crossings and carefully look both ways.
  • Remember that a train often needs more than a mile to stop so never stop on the tracks. 
  • Turn down the volume on your radio and listen for a train.

Texas law requires all vehicles to yield the right of way to trains.  It is also against the law to cross tracks if a train is visible regardless of the status of crossing gates.  It is also illegal to drive around lowered railroad crossing gates.  If the gates are down and no train seems to be coming, the road is legally closed.

Rail Safety Inspection Program

The rail safety inspection program enforces state and federal rail safety standards.  It enforces standards regarding freight cars, locomotives, operating practices of conductors, engineers, maintenance workers and all other rail employees, signal and train controls, tracks and the transportation of hazardous materials.  The rail safety program is conducted with the Federal Railroad Administration.

The Texas Department of Transportation rail safety inspectors inspect railroad facilities and equipment.  They monitor compliance with both state and federally-mandated safety regulations in the areas of hazardous materials of all types, locomotive power and equipment, operating practices, signal and train control, and track maintenance.

Texas participates in the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Rail State Safety Participation Program.  This is governed by section 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 212.  This regulation allows states to enter into an agreement with FRA for the delegation of specified authority.  This includes investigative and surveillance authority regarding Federal railroad safety laws.

Facts About Railroad and Train Accidents

A train collision or derailment occurs about every two hours.

A train carrying hazardous materials derails on average every two weeks.

Slightly more than half of train accidents occur at unprotected crossings.

About 80% of all railroad crossings have inadequate warning devices, according to the Federal government.

A train traveling at 55 mph needs about a mile to stop.

Railroad and train injury claims and lawsuits in Texas can involve many different state and federal laws and will require showing that the railroad is liable under some law.  Do not try to navigate this minefield alone.  For a free no obligation consultation to discuss your railroad or train accident case with a lawyer with The Law Offices of Adrian Crane, contact us today.  We are available to handle personal injury and wrongful death cases for victims in all of North Texas and the surrounding areas.

If you or a loved one has suffered any kind of injury involving a train or railroad accident, you owe it to yourself and your family to hire an attorney who specializes only in representing injured victims.  Contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane by calling or contacting us through the case evaluation form located on this website.

For your convenience, we offer home, hospital, office and nursing home visits.  Our team of professionals at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane will provide you with the experience, strategy and commitment that protect your rights and claims.

At our personal injury firm, you speak directly with an attorney, not just secretaries and paralegals.  A Spanish-speaking attorney and staff members are available for your assistance. Se habla Español.

Attorneys associated with The Law Offices of Adrian Crane handle cases across the state of Texas.  Our principal office in North Texas is in Dallas however we are happy to welcome cases from anywhere in Texas, regardless of where you live or where the accident took place.

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