While train accidents are not as common as truck, motorcycle, or car accidents, when they do happen they are often deadly. Not only the size but the speed of the train can mean a serious injury for many people if a derailment happens. There are many different reasons that trains can derail and the reason or a particular derailment will affect whether or not an injured party has a right to file a personal injury lawsuit or claim.
Keep reading to get the facts on train derailment and to learn the top four cases of them. If you have been injured in any type of train accident, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 and request a free legal consultation.
First: The Data on Train Derailment
Before we get into the most common causes of train derailments, let’s discuss the data on past accidents. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were more than 9,000 train derailments between 2010 and 2016. California, during that same period, had more than 440 train derailments. In 2016 alone there were 59 train derailments – which was an improvement of 11 over the previous year. In just 2016 there were 787 lives lost in train accidents, 156 of which happened in California.
- Track-Related Issues
- Equipment Failures
- Human Error
- Environmental Factors
Did you guess that track-related issues are the top cause of trains derailing? This can include issues such as broken welds or rails, track-train interaction, track geometry, wide gauges, buckled tracks, joint bar defects, and other issues. Note that broken rails and welds are responsible for more than half of all track-related derailments.
The second most common caused of train derailments is equipment failure in a train or car. This can include train breaks failing, a locomotive bearing or wheel failure, or electric defects in the locomotive. It can be the result of a car equipment failure including bearing failure, broken car wheels, or defects in car axles or journals.
Human error and negligence is the third most common cause of train derailment. It can include speeding, not obeying safety signs, not communicating with the operator, vandalism, violating switching or mainline rules, track switches having been incorrectly set, or the driver in poor physical condition.
High winds, rockslides, flash floods, and avalanches are the fourth most common cause of train derailments. This is why trails may not run in a storm or when it’s snowing, even though it may seem as though they would not be affected.
If you were injured in a train accident, or have lost a loved one in this type of accident, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 now for a free legal consultation.