Oakland Train Accident Lawyer
Traveling by rail often times seems a thing of the past, yet millions of people use trains every day. In December 2017, trains travelled 558,203,027 passenger miles, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Statistics. This figure only includes Amtrak and Alaska Railroad Corporation, not commuter rails, which means it does not account for all of the passengers carried and miles traveled by MUNI Metro, BART, Caltrain, ACE, and other commuter trains across California. With many passenger trains underway almost every minute of each day, there is a risk for accidents. This mode of transportation is not infallible, and accidents can lead to injuries and fatalities. If you were hurt while riding a train or in a train-related accident, you should contact an Oakland train accident lawyer at Willoughby Brod, LLP. We are here to protect your rights and determine your legal options, including whether you have a valid claim for compensation.Types of Train Accidents
When people discuss train accidents, they often think of derailments. This is when a train suddenly comes off its tracks. It may collide with other people, vehicles, man-made structures, or natural structures. These collisions, and the potential for the railcars to flip onto their sides, often lead to many people incurring serious injuries.
Another common type of train accident involves collisions with pedestrians and vehicles. Pedestrians may be attempting to cross the railroad tracks in an unprotected area or they may be trespassing near the tracks. Many people do not realize how quickly trains move and misjudge the distance between themselves and an oncoming train.
Train-vehicle collisions typically occur at railroad crossings. It may be that the intersection was unprotected, the signals failed, or the vehicle tried to outrun the train.
The specific type of train accident you were involved in may not matter to you, yet it will be important to determine what exactly happened, who was responsible for the accident, and who is liable for compensating you for your injuries. To further discuss these issues, call an Oakland train accident attorney right away.Why Train Accidents Occur
Train accidents, whether they involve a cross-country Amtrak train or a local BART, can happen for any number of reasons. A common cause of train accidents is rail employee negligence. Conductor fatigue, distraction, recklessness, or plain carelessness can cause serious accidents. A conductor who falls asleep while operating a train or fails to brake as soon as necessary can cause mass casualties. Yet it is not always the conductor who is negligent. Another rail employee, whether an engineer, brake operator, switch operator, signal operator, dispatcher, or maintenance worker, might make a mistake that has serious consequences for a train and the passengers on it.
Improper maintenance of a train or track system is another contributing factor to some train accidents. If a rail company does not properly maintain all of its equipment, a system or part is more likely to fail and cause an accident, such as a derailment. However, derailments are often the result of something wrong with the tracks, which are the typically owned by another company. For instance, Amtrak does not own its tracks. If you were hurt in an accident because of a problem with the tracks, your attorney may need to do some digging to determine who is responsible for that area of track.
Another common cause of train accidents is defective parts and equipment. If a part of the train or track was defectively designed or manufactured, it is much more likely to fail.
It is possible to be involved in a train accident and walk away with minor injuries. Depending on the accident and where you were in the train, you may sustain bruising, lacerations, or minor traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion.
However, due to the speed and size of a train, accidents often lead to serious and catastrophic injuries, including:
- Significant lacerations and scarring
- Moderate and significant traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Traumatic amputations
Additionally, if you are involved in a train accident with a commercial train carrying cargo, you could be exposed to hazardous substances. For instance, trains in the U.S. often carry petroleum products and other materials with which you should not make unprotected contact. These trains are also more likely to catch fire in an accident, which puts you at risk for burns.
Whatever the type and extent of your injuries, you need to speak with a train accident attorney in Oakland to gather a clear picture about the value of your claim and the process of pursuing compensation.Let Willoughby Brod, LLP Help You
If you were hurt in any type of train accident, or a relative was killed in a train accident, then contact Willoughby Brod, LLP online or call (800) 427-7020. We are here to protect your rights during the legal process and fight for you to obtain the most compensation possible for your injuries.