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Train Accidents

Each day, passenger and freight trains transports millions of people — and millions of tons of cargo — across the United States.  These trains are operated by a number of carriers, from passenger railway company Amtrak to freight company CSX Transportation.

While trains serve a vital purpose in our economy, accidents are far too common. Train crashes may include derailments, trains hitting vehicles stopped at crossings, trains hitting pedestrians, and collisions with other trains.  According to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis, in 2018  alone, there were 1,454 accidents involving trains.  These accidents resulted in 6 fatalities and 192 nonfatal injuries.

At the Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn, we advocate on behalf of people who have been injured in train accidents. Passenger railways are considered common carriers, which means that they are subject to certain legal obligations.  Our firm is experienced in handling litigation involving common carriers, and can work with you to help you achieve justice.  To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today at (310) 209-1600 or info@michaelkahnlaw.com.

Common Causes of Train Accidents

Accidents on the railways are often the result of human error or equipment failure.  Because so-called “freak accidents” rarely happen with trains, it is important to work with someone who understands the reality of railroad crashes. Having an experienced California train accident lawyer on your side can make a difference in getting a fair result in these cases.

Faulty equipment is often an underlying cause for train accidents.  Malfunctioning brakes, warning lights, sounds or gates can all present a danger to the public. For example, if a gate fails to come down to stop vehicles from crossing the tracks when a train is approaching, it may lead to a crash.  Faulty or defective communication equipment can prevent a train engineer from communicating with others, and lead to a crash.  In addition, defective or broken rails due to poor maintenance can lead to derailments or collisions.

In other cases, driver negligence may be the reason for a train accident.  A train engineer or conductor may be distracted by a cell phone, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or may simply not be paying attention.  After some accidents, an investigation may reveal that a worker improperly switched tracks or hooked cars together without following safety precautions.  Any of these actions can lead to a collision.

Speeding may also lead to derailments and accidents.  Trains and the tracks on which they travel are designed to operate at certain speeds.  If a conductor or engineer exceeds those speeds, it may be dangerous — or even deadly.

Negligence on the part of pedestrians or drivers can cause accidents.  Drivers who attempt to speed through a railroad crossing despite a warning that a train is coming — known as train racing — may cause a crash when a train hits it or has to put on emergency brakes to stop.  Similarly, pedestrians who walk on or alongside tracks are often killed when a train is unable to stop in time to avoid hitting them.

How Our Firm Can Help

Train accident cases can be complicated.  The law does not make railroads responsible for all injuries in accident and derailments; instead, railroads must take reasonable actions to prevent injury and death. A skilled California train accident lawyer must thoroughly investigate every aspect of a crash or derailment to determine the cause and examine potential liability issues.

The Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn is dedicated to helping victims of train accidents throughout California.  We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you, and offer no-cost, no-obligation consultations to all prospective clients.  Contact us today at (310) 209-1600 or info@michaelkahnlaw.com to schedule an appointment.

Need Help? Call us anytime at (310) 209-1600