Birmingham Train Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been involved in a railroad-related accident, don’t hesitate to contact a Birmingham train accident lawyer from Belt & Bruner, P.C. immediately. Although traveling by rail is less frequent today, hundreds of thousands of miles of railroad tracks still run through the country. Within Alabama alone, there are roughly 3,973 miles of track with nearly 6,000 public and private crossing areas. Amtrak’s passenger rail service, which already makes stops in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Anniston, recently added a station in Mobile as part of a larger expansion into the Gulf Coast.
Unfortunately, train accidents continue to cause injuries and deaths every year in the United States. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there are more than 2,500 train accidents every year involving:
- Vehicle/train collisions
- Pedestrian injuries
- Railroad worker injuries
- Collisions with other trains
Almost 95 percent of railroad fatalities and injuries involve vehicle/train collisions at grade crossings or pedestrians walking on or near railroad property.
Common Causes of Train Accidents
- Mechanical or electrical failures
- Negligent train operator
- Distracted or fatigued train conductor
- Inadequate signals, lights, or gates
- Improper signal or communication
- Unprotected crossings
- Negligent motorist
- Inadequate maintenance or inspection of tracks
- Poor design
- Distracted or impaired pedestrians
- Malfunctioning signals, lights, or gates
Train Collisions with Motor Vehicles
A collision between a car and a train occurs every 90 minutes in the United States. Overall, there were 2,059 vehicle and train crashes in 2015, which resulted in 244 deaths and 967 injuries. Alabama is ranked 6th in the nation in vehicle and train collisions at public and private crossings. In 2015, there were 90 vehicle/train crashes in Alabama, resulting in 5 fatalities and 34 injuries.
Passenger vehicle occupants are almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision with another motor vehicle. To put it into perspective, the force of a 30-car freight train colliding with a car is the equivalent of your vehicle crushing a soda can.
Train Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Train/pedestrian accidents are referred to as trespassing incidents because railroad tracks are considered private property and walking along them is not only illegal but incredibly dangerous. Despite this fact, train/pedestrian accidents continue to be the major cause of railroad-related fatalities and the number of fatal trespassing accidents has been on the rise since 2011.
Nearly 909 people were injured or killed while walking on or near train tracks in 2015. Alabama ranked 17th in the nation for train/pedestrian fatalities in 2015, with 14 trespassing deaths and/or injuries.
Safety Tips for Train Accident Prevention
- The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing area equipped with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights, or a gate.
- Trains can take more than a mile to stop.
- Trains extend over the tracks by three feet on both sides, so it is not safe to be closer than 15 feet from the railroad tracks.
- Trains can come from either direction. It is not safe to assume that it is safe to walk immediately after a train passes as a second train may be blocked by the first.
- You should never attempt to cross while the red lights are flashing or when the gates are lowered as this indicates a train is approaching.
- Freight trains do not have set schedules. Be aware that trains can come at any time, so it is not safe to walk, bike, or run on or near railroad tracks.
- Never drive around lowered gates.
- Obey all posted warning signs and signals.
- Keep in mind that larger objects appear to be moving slower, but trains are always closer and moving faster than you think.
- Slow down when approaching a railroad crossing and make sure to look both ways.
Common Train Accident Injuries
Train accidents can be catastrophic. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Severed limbs
How a Birmingham Train Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one have been injured in a train accident, you may be facing extensive physical injuries, lost wages, and mounting bills. The train accident lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. have more than 65 years of collective legal experience handling virtually every type of vehicle injury case and in-depth knowledge of laws that apply to train accidents. Our skilled Birmingham vehicle injury lawyers can evaluate your case, explain your legal options, and help you determine your best course of action going forward.
Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your accident and injuries, you may be able to receive compensation for your:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of use of property
We have helped accident victims across Alabama obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries and other losses. Call the Birmingham personal injury lawyers today at 205-933-1500 to receive a free consultation.