Recent heavy rains washed away a bridge and caused a train derailment in Cookeville, Tennessee after flooding washed the train track away. Although railroad offer a popular form of transportation for people and freight, railroad accidents can lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Whether it is an RTA commuter train, Memphis commuter rail or other passenger or freight train, trains have caused hundreds of deaths and even more injuries throughout the State of Tennessee. Serious train accidents may lead to injuries to train passengers, auto drivers or passengers, or innocent bystanders. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we are the largest personal injury law firm in Tennessee and have the necessary knowledge of the special laws and regulations that apply to railroad accidents.
Many different parties can share responsibility for a train accident including railroad companies, public commuter rail authorities, companies that design and build the train and its component parts, and companies that install and maintain signal systems just to name a few. In a typical year, over 12,000 people are injured and more than a thousand are killed in railroad accidents or derailments. Fortunately, there has been a decline in the frequency of Tennessee railroad accidents in recent years, but many train accidents still result in serious injury or death. Track, equipment, or signal defects or failure are the cause of about 50% of all serious train accidents with human error accounting for 36% of all train accidents.
Railroads are common carriers so they are held to a very high standard of care and diligence to transport passengers safely. A common carrier is a transportation company that offers to transport the public at large for a fixed rate. Because passengers have virtually no control over their own safety and must trust the railroad company to make sure they provide a safe means of transportation, train companies are held to an extremely high level of care to safeguard their passengers.
Train accidents can take many different forms but often result from collisions with automobiles and pedestrians or from derailments. Train accidents frequently occur when safety equipment such as an automatic train control system (ATC) or signal malfunction or at unprotected crossings where there are no signals to warn drivers of an approaching train.
While the causes of a train accident can be diverse and complex, there are a number of common causes including the following:
â€¢ engineer or conductor fatigue
â€¢ unsafe speed
â€¢ lack of safety lights or signals
â€¢ inadequate track maintenance
â€¢ mechanical failure of locomotive, switch systems or warning signals
â€¢ automobiles parked improperly on track
â€¢ inadequate warnings of low bed truck hazards at train crossings
â€¢ drug or alcohol use by engineer or conductor
This is a small sampling of hazards that can lead to a serious train accident resulting in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. If you or someone you love is injured in a railroad, light rail, or trolley accident, it is important that you seek immediate legal advice. Successful litigation of railroad and train accidents and derailments requires immediate investigation and preservation of evidence including skid marks or gouge marks. At NST Law, we have been handling serious personal injury and accident cases throughout the State of Tennessee for many years. NST Law attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country.