In 2017, 824 people died in train accidents and 31 of those fatalities occurred in Pennsylvania. Through June of 2018, 18 people have died in Pennsylvania due to train accidents. The State of Pennsylvania has more than 64 operating railroads, more than any other state in the country, and it has more than 5,600 track miles. With that many operating railroads and track miles, there are bound to be train accidents. People injured or killed in train accidents include passengers, train operators and railroad employees, pedestrians, and vehicle occupants in a car hit by a train.
Although the most common cause of train accidents is human operator error followed by railroad track complications, there are many other train accident causes, some of which are listed below:
Human operator error
Issues and complications with railroad tracks
Obstructions on the tracks
A mechanical failure with the train or the tracks
A distracted pedestrian unaware of the train stepping into its path
Stalled vehicle on railroad tracks
Unprotected railroad crossings that do not give notice to drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
Long train stop time - It can take a mile or more for a train to stop after the emergency break is applied.
As you likely know, train accident injuries can be devastating and deadly. The injuries are severe due to the size and mass of the train, the large number of passengers on board means potential for a large number of injured people, trains’ high speeds, lack of seatbelts, loose passenger carryon items that may hit and crush people in accidents, and hazardous freight materials. Train accident injuries can be life changing for the person injured and for his or her loved ones. Learning to cope and adjust after a train accident can be very challenging. And it is imperative to hold negligent parties accountable for causing your injuries in order to receive the financial recovery that you need and deserve.
So who is at fault in a train accident? Fault could be found with a number of people and entities including the train owner, train operator, train track owner or operator, and even a driver who collides with the train. These parties can be solely liable or negligence can be attributed to several parties. Common train accident fault scenarios include:
Operator negligence, often including cell phone distractions
Poor train or track maintenance
Lack of safety training or improper training
Noncompliance with regulations and requirements
Motor vehicle's failure to yield