Railroad accidents in Texas have the potential to wreak havoc and forever alter the lives of those involved, leaving a profound impact on both the injured party and their families. Houston has a large number of very active rail lines criss-crossing the city. As residents of Houston, it becomes pivotal for us to gain an understanding of the types of railroad accidents that occur most frequently in our area. Equally important is being aware of the potential compensation options available to alleviate the financial burden for those affected.
Keep reading to learn about the different aspects of railroad accidents in Houston, including what to do after an accident, who is liable, what compensation you may be entitled to if you’re injured in a railroad accident, and the importance of seeking legal assistance from a skilled train accident lawyer.
How Often Are People Injured in Railroad Accidents Near Houston?
In Texas alone, there were 241 highway-rail grade crossing collisions in 2022, resulting in 31 deaths and 82 injuries. A highway-rail grade crossing is an intersection where a roadway crosses railroad tracks at the same level or grade. Tragically, Texas has the most highway-rail grade crossing collisions in the country. With these alarming statistics, it’s no surprise that many people in Houston find themselves needing the help of a Houston train accident lawyer.
What Types of Train Accidents Occur Most Frequently in Houston?
Railroad accidents can have catastrophic consequences, causing serious injuries and substantial damage. Understanding the most common types of incidents is essential for promoting safety and seeking justice in these unfortunate circumstances. Common types of train accidents include:
- Train Derailments: This type of accident occurs when a train derails – or comes off its tracks – which can lead to serious accidents for those on the train as well as those nearby. It can also cause extensive property damage.
- Collisions at Railroad Crossings: Trail collision accidents happen when a moving train collides with a vehicle, person, or another object at a railroad crossing.
- Freight and Hazardous Material Spills: Freight trains often carry hazardous materials, which can lead to spills and contamination when accidents occur. This can result in dangerous exposure to toxic substances for nearby residents and the environment.
- Fires and Explosions: Fires and explosions can result from train crashes, derailments, or other accidents involving flammable or explosive materials.
- Employee Injuries: Railroad employees face numerous hazards on the job, leading to injuries and fatalities.
- Pedestrian and Trespasser Accidents: These involve individuals being struck by trains while walking on or near the tracks, often in areas where pedestrian access is prohibited.
- Track Maintenance and Construction Accidents: These accidents occur due to issues with track maintenance or during construction activities, leading to unsafe conditions for train travel.
In addition to understanding the types of railroad accidents that occur, it’s essential to learn more about the common causes of such incidents. This can help to prevent future accidents and work towards ensuring safety.
Common Causes of Railroad Accidents in Houston
Railroad accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, often leading to severe injuries or fatalities. Some of the common causes of railroad accidents in Houston include:
- Train operator negligence: This could involve speeding, failure to sound the horn, or improper braking, potentially resulting in a collision.
- Mechanical failure: Faulty equipment or poor maintenance can lead to devastating accidents.
- Track defects: Damaged or poorly maintained tracks can cause derailments or other accidents.
- Obstructions on tracks: Objects or debris on the tracks can lead to collisions and derailments.
- Human error: Mistakes made by train staff, maintenance crews, or railroad workers on the tracks may cause accidents.
Understanding what causes train accidents can help identify common types of injuries that might happen as well as who might be responsible, which is critical when you’re trying to obtain compensation for your damages.
Common Injuries Sustained By the Victims of Houston Railroad Accidents
Railroad accidents are unfortunately potentially traumatic events that can lead to severe injuries. Below are some of the most common injuries faced by those involved:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Crush injuries
- Disfigurement or amputation
- Internal injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Dealing with the aftermath of a railroad accident can be overwhelming, but it’s important to acknowledge the significant impact such an event can have on your life. In navigating the path toward recovery, one key aspect to consider is the compensation you may be entitled to for injuries sustained.
What Compensation Can You Get from a Railroad Accident Injury?
Compensation is crucial in addressing the physical, emotional, and financial burdens that often follow a railroad accident, and the type you can recover after an accident can generally be divided into two broad categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the quantifiable losses that result from an accident, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are more subjective and difficult to quantify. These typically include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
In addition to these damages, some train accidents in Houston may warrant punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party for reckless or negligent behavior that led to the accident or injury. To recover what you’re entitled to, it’s essential to determine who was responsible for the accident.
Who Is Liable for Railroad Accidents in Houston
Determining liability for railroad accidents in Houston can be complex, as multiple parties may share responsibility. The following are some of the potential parties that could be liable in such accidents:
- Railroad Companies: Train companies are typically responsible for maintaining tracks, signals, and equipment. They can be liable for accidents caused by their negligence – for example, neglecting to properly inspect and repair track issues, such as fractures or misalignments, can lead to derailments or collisions.
- Train Operators: Train operators are responsible for safely operating trains. They may be liable if their actions, decisions, or negligence contribute to an accident – for example, operating the train too fast for the conditions.
- Government Entities: Local, state, or federal government agencies may be responsible for certain aspects of the train tracks or surrounding signals. Negligence in maintaining these can lead to accidents.
- Automobile Drivers: Drivers at railroad crossings are required to follow traffic laws and exercise caution. Accidents may occur due to driver negligence, such as trying to beat a closing railroad gate.
- Manufacturers and Suppliers: Manufacturers of train components, signaling equipment, or maintenance machinery may be held liable if defective products contribute to accidents.
- Contractors and Maintenance Crews: Outside contractors hired for track maintenance and repair work may bear responsibility if their negligence results in accidents – for example, failing to properly repair an issue with the tracks.
- Other Third Parties: Depending on the circumstances, other parties, such as cargo owners or shipping companies, may share liability if their actions or negligence contribute to railroad accidents.
- Mechanical and Technical Experts: In some train accident cases, experts responsible for inspecting and certifying the safety of railroad equipment or infrastructure may bear liability if their assessments are inaccurate or incomplete.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of who could be responsible for train wrecks, but it’s a good overview; a lawyer will always help you make this determination. Having covered the factors related to liability, it’s helpful to explore the essential actions to take in the aftermath of a railroad accident. This will guide you in safeguarding your rights and obtaining the necessary assistance to ensure you receive the financial help you need after being hurt in a train accident.
What to Do After a Railroad Accident
After a railroad accident, taking the right steps is crucial to protect your well-being and potential legal claims and train accident lawsuits. Here’s what you need to do after a railroad accident:
Make Sure You’re Safe
Prioritize safety for yourself and others. If possible, move to a safe location away from the accident site.
Contact Law Enforcement
Report the accident to local law enforcement, such as the police or transit authority. Cooperate with their investigation and provide an accurate account of the incident.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t immediately feel injured, seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms right away. Follow the advice of healthcare professionals and keep records of all medical evaluations and treatments.
Collect essential information, including names, contact details, and insurance information from other parties involved in the accident. Note the names and badge numbers of responding law enforcement officers.
Document the accident scene by taking photographs or videos if it’s safe to do so and if you’re able to. Collect contact information from witnesses who may be able to provide statements about what they observed.
Avoid Admitting Fault
Refrain from admitting fault or making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt, even if you think you may have been partially or fully responsible. Stick to the facts when discussing the accident with others and avoid speculation.
Consult with a Train Accident Lawyer in Houston
Contacting a Houston train accident attorney focusing on railroad accidents is one of the most important steps you can take. We will provide legal guidance and assess the possibility of filing a claim for compensation.
By following these steps after a railroad accident, you can safeguard your rights, gather essential evidence, and take actions that may be crucial to pursuing fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Reasons to Hire a Houston Train Accident Attorney
Being injured in a train accident is often complex and involves numerous factors. The process of obtaining compensation from the responsible parties can be challenging and time-consuming, which is where a skilled and experienced attorney comes in. Some reasons to hire a railroad accident lawyer near Houston include:
- Understanding of Railroad Laws and Regulations: Railroad accident lawyers in Houston have an in-depth knowledge of the laws, regulations, and safety standards related to the railroad industry. This experience allows them to build solid personal injury cases by analyzing the facts and determining the responsible parties.
- Strong Negotiation Skills: Railroad injury lawyers possess the experience to navigate complex legal and insurance jargon, ensuring your rights and interests are effectively represented. They are also skilled in negotiation tactics and can counteract strategies employed by insurance companies to minimize payouts, thereby maximizing your potential compensation
- Emotional Support: Dealing with a railroad accident and subsequent train accident claim can be emotionally traumatic and overwhelming. A compassionate and empathetic attorney will support you and your family through this difficult time and help you remain focused on a successful resolution.
Finding the right railroad accident attorney in Houston can significantly increase your chances of getting fair compensation for your losses while saving you time and stress. Fortunately, you don’t have to look far; The Callahan Law Firm is here for you and should be your first choice for representation for any kind of railroad or train accident.
Why Choose The Callahan Law Firm as Your Railroad Accident Lawyer?
The Callahan Law Firm has years of experience representing clients in personal injury claims related to train accidents, making them qualified to assist you. Some of the reasons you should choose The Callahan Law Firm include:
- History of Success: We have a proven track record of handling accident cases and achieving successful outcomes for clients. Our personal injury attorneys have been handling injury cases for more than 2 decades, so we know what it takes to get you the outcome you deserve.
- Dedication and Commitment: Our firm is dedicated to providing personalized attention to each client’s needs and ensuring your case is handled with precision and care. We’re available to talk and answer questions anytime you need help or have questions.
- No fees unless we recover money in your case: We offer a “no win, no fee” agreement, which means you don’t pay us unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
When faced with a railroad accident, you deserve compassionate representation and skilled legal counsel. The Callahan Law Firm offers the experience, knowledge, and dedication necessary to help you secure the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out and take the first step towards justice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.