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Railroads and trains are governed by different laws than common automobiles. Due to the sheer physics of such a large vehicle, when accidents occur, the damage tends to be severe. It can also be harder to prevent a train accident, at least on the part of the conductor.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sets the guidelines for railroad safety. However, there is a margin of error that may occur in addition to habitual human negligence. The FRA is also the organization that creates liability for the safety of train passengers. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) protects railroad employees from injuries on the job or illnesses from exposure to hazardous chemicals.
Common types of train accidents include wrecks at railroad crossings, crashes involving the train with a car or truck, exposure to toxic chemicals and/or property damage via a train derailment, and mechanical failures. Derailment, train-on-person collisions and damage to property from a train are also in this category. Each of these scenarios presents significant damages to the environment, property, and of course the health and safety of anyone involved.
Due to the complexities involved in determining responsibility for a railroad accident, experts may be needed to reconstruct and reenact the accident and scene of the accident. Based on expert testimony, liability and responsibility can then be determined. Some common causes of railroad accidents include conductor error, railway company negligence, mechanical errors, distracted pedestrians, negligent drivers, or an object sitting on the tracks. Negligently performed inspections or maintenance of a train or rails may also account for train accidents.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, several parties may be involved in your particular case. These may include:
Depending on the nature of your injuries due to a railroad accident, your lawyer may identify possible claims for:
The railway industry has its own sets of rules, regulations and laws. It is important to find a personal injury attorney that has experience in this category so they can best represent you. This attorney’s experience is more important than their geographic location, so choose the right lawyer, not just one that is near you.
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