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Railway Accidents: Common and Complicated

The recent metro derailment near Philadelphia has highlighted the safety problems with rail travel. Railroad crossing accidents in WV & PA affect hundreds of people annually. Every year thousands of accidents take place involving trains. Over six hundred different railway companies operate in the United States, using hundreds of thousands of miles of railroad track. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, on average 3,000 accidents occur annually. That translates into a train accident every 2 hours. The National Transportation and Safety Board, in their latest statistics released, state that accidental death tolls increased by 6% in 2013, with 890 people killed.

The infrastructure of the railways is aging and little has been done to modernize the system. This lack of upkeep has caused a large percentage of the accidents. 50% of all railway accidents in the U.S. happened at railway crossings that were inadequately protected. More than 80% of all railway crossings, according to federal government estimates, lack adequate warning systems.

Railroad crossing accidents in WV & PA West happen often enough so that law firms specializing in railway law litigation are critical so that a victim has a chance to obtain just compensation. Many times, railway accidents result in injury or death. For example, of the 27 railway accidents so far in Pennsylvania in 2015, 3 have resulted in fatalities. West Virginia had over 65 accidents in the last 36 months, most involving personal injury, including fatalities.

Railway accidents can be expensive too.

Types of Injuries and Damage

Accidents at along railway tracks and crossings affect different groups different ways. Railroad crossings accidents in WVA & PA, for example, resulted in personal injury cases involving vehicle drivers and passengers, railroad workers, innocent bystanders and pedestrians.

Federal law and state law each can make a difference to how or even if a victim can seek compensation in the courts. The cause of the accident also determines if one or more people or entities may be at fault. For example, a conductor on a passenger train may be at fault. A pedestrian or driver may have neglected to obey the signs or signals. The train company may have faulty engines or carriers. The cargo provider could have mislabeled or packaged freight incorrectly. Often, more than one is at fault.
Federal agencies, local police and others will investigate these accidents too and sometimes each may reach slightly different conclusions. These investigations too can take many months to complete. Obtaining a copy of the investigation for use in any court proceedings involves legal orders, judges and proper documentation.

Victim Support

Virtually all railway accidents result in some sort of personal injury or property damage. This means litigation of some sort. Most railroad crossing accidents in WVA & PA involve property damage. Property damage due to railway accidents runs into the tens of millions of dollars annually. Legal assistance from firms that have experience in litigating cases involving railway mishaps assists victims on a number of levels. The railroads companies and commuter rail lines fall under the “common carrier” category of federal law. As such, they are only required to do all that can be reasonably expected to ensure the safety of their passengers.

Railways crossing accidents in WVA & PA are usually very legally complicated. The different state laws, the federal law and the complications that can arise during an investigation, need careful thought by the victim. Railway law is not the same as other laws. There are unique aspects that need careful research in order to decide what matches a victim’s needs best. Social security law, if a victim is disabled, may become important when determining how best to proceed.

The best way to help yourself if you are involved in one of the many railway crossing accidents in WVA & PA is to find an attorney that has the legal familiarity and knowledge of railroad law. Do your research carefully, check attorney review sites and seek assistance so that you maximize your chances of successful litigation.






What are U.S. railroad accident statistics?