A train accident is defined by the Federal Railroad Administration in a number of different terms. A train accident is a “collision, derailment, and other event involving the operation of on-track equipment.” Train accidents cause “reportable damage above an established threshold” and generally involve collisions. Another leading cause of train accidents is derailment. A lesser-known category of train accidents is the occupational illness of railroad employees.
Even with decreasing rail service, train accidents still occur-over 2,700 train related accidents in 1999 alone. Although the vast majority of train accidents are minor, they can also be catastrophic. In 1999, more than 900 people died in train accidents, and many more were injured.
Railroad companies are held to very strict standards regarding train accidents. Like other “carriers” (e.g. planes, buses), railroads are ultimately responsible for passenger safety. Since most train accidents involve a company that is government owned/operated, claims may be regulated by “tort claims acts.” Train accident claims must comply with certain guidelines, including strict time constraints for reporting injuries and filing suits.
Train accidents can result in loss of life, property, and health. If you have been involved in a train accident, an attorney may be able to help you make cruicial decisions about your legal rights.