In 2017, one train in California hit two people with only hours between each incident. The first accident occurred in Madera. Then, only a few hours later, the train hit a woman near downtown Fresno. The train was moving slowly and sounded its horn, and may not have been liable for the incident. But in other cases, the train conductor or company is responsible for the accident.
When a train accident occurs, the victims can suffer tremendously. However, there may be some relief. By contacting a train accident attorney in Fresno, you can hold the negligent party responsible for their actions. A personal injury claim against the driver or train company could give you compensation for the accident.
Why Are Train Accidents Such a Problem?
If you drive through Fresno and its surrounding areas, you are bound to come across a train or two. In California, trains are common methods of transport for both goods and passengers. There are more than 6,5000 miles of track throughout California, and trains haul over 156 tons of cargo.
Freight trains and passenger trains alike have the potential to cause accidents. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board reported that a train accident occurs every 120 minutes in the US. Many of those accidents involve fatalities.
Even when an accident does not involve a death, it can involve serious injuries. Often, trains travel at high speeds. They also are much larger and heavier than pedestrians and other vehicles. When a collision occurs, the consequences can be serious.
Why Do Train Accidents Occur?
There are multiple reasons for train accidents occurring. Here are some of the more frequent causes of this type of accident:
1. Car Driver Negligence
Sometimes, a motor vehicle driver causes a train accident. For example, a driver might stop at a red light on a railroad crossing. By failing to stop before the white line and off the tracks, the driver is to blame.
2. Driving Too Fast
Much like cars, trains should only drive at a certain speed. When a train is moving too quickly, it can’t stop or react soon enough to certain situations.
3. Train Signal Failure
The only way drivers can know of an oncoming train is with the train signal. However, that signal could fail. In this case, the liable party could be the manufacturer of a defective part or the entity responsible for signal maintenance.
4. Poor Track Maintenance
If a train track is not well-maintained, an accident can occur. A lack of maintenance could cause debris to accumulate on the track, dents to misshape the track, and other unfortunate situations.
5. Negligent Hiring Processes or Training
The train company is responsible for hiring competent personnel. But sometimes, the company is negligent. In their haste to fill a position, they might hire someone without the right qualifications for the job.
They also might fail to provide the right training. In either case, the result could be an accident. The train company has the responsibility of hiring the right staff and training them to the best of their ability.
6. Outdated Train Equipment
These days, safety equipment on trains is better than ever. However, some companies might fail to update their equipment in an effort to save money. This could make them liable for an accident.
7. Overloaded Trains
Trains with too many people or too much cargo are unsafe. If a company overloads their trains, they could cause problems.
8. Lack of Security
A potential area of danger is the train platform. If there isn’t enough security on the platform, an accident can occur. Someone could find themselves on the tracks with an oncoming train.
In some cases, a lack of security refers to missing track lighting. If people or cars can’t see the tracks, they might end up on the tracks with an oncoming train.
9. Operator Fatigue
Fatigued truck and car drivers often cause accidents. The same is true of fatigued train operators. If an operator drives for too many hours straight, they are likely to make a misjudgment. In accidents like these, either the operator or the train company can be liable.
Common Types of Train Accidents
There is more than one type of train accident. Learn more about the types of train accidents that can occur.
A derailment occurs when a train comes off the tracks. If there is debris on the track or the train is going too fast, derailment is a possibility.
2. Car and Train Collisions
In the media, you might hear a lot about car and train collisions. These accidents can occur if a train fails to stop when it should, or when train signals fail. In some cases, the motor vehicle driver is to blame. However, there are usually other circumstances surrounding the accident. For instance, a car could stall on railroad tracks. An oncoming train might not be able to stop in time.
3. Pedestrian and Train Collisions
In 2019, a man was walking along train tracks in Fresno and was hit by a train. But that wasn’t the only pedestrian and train collision. Every year, there multiple pedestrian and train collisions. Sadly, most of them result in the same outcome – fatalities.
4. Cyclist and Train Collisions
Much like pedestrians and trains can crash, cyclists and trains can also collide. If a train signal malfunctions and a cyclist rides on the tracks as a train approaches, the result can be devastating. It’s very difficult for train operators to see cyclists on the tracks.
Working with a Train Accident Attorney in Fresno
You don’t need to let your medical bills take over your life. If you’re a victim of a train accident, you should seek assistance. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your accident, you can receive financial restitution.
Here at Grossman Law Offices, we can handle your case. We’ll discuss your possible courses of action and can take you through the legal process. Whether we negotiate a settlement for you or stand up for you in court, we’re ready to handle your case. Contact us today for more information.