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Train travel is a relatively safe means of transportation. However, each year there are thousands of train derailments, collisions, and other types of train accidents. Pennsylvania train crashes and derailments may not be among the most common types of accidents, but when these accidents occur, they tend to be very severe. Train accidents frequently result in severe injury or death. Those injured in a train accident, whether as a passenger, an employee, pedestrian, or as the driver or passenger of a car, can pursue a claim to recover money damages for their injuries.
Our 210 TC Pennsylvania train accident lawyers of Console & Associates, are a dedicated team who regularly represents individuals and families affected by train accidents. We have successfully pursued claims against many major rail operators, and we know what it takes to hold a railroad company liable for an accident victim’s injuries.
Since 1994, Console & Associates has been a thorn in the side of insurance companies, proudly standing up for the rights of accident victims and their families. When you bring Console & Associates onto your team, you will get the peace of mind knowing that you have an experienced ally who will have your best interests at heart every step of the way.
According to the United States Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), there have been more than 1,860 train accidents every year over the past ten years. Derailments are the most common type of train accident, with an average of 1,320 train derailments per year.
Train crashes are far less common; however, they are much more dangerous. For example, while there are only about 120 train collisions every year, these accidents are responsible for the majority of train accident injuries and fatalities.
Below is a more in-depth look at the past few years of train-accident data, compiled by the BTS:
Train accidents: 1,724 accidents, 78 collisions, 1,213 derailments
Train accident injuries: 433 injuries, 14 injured in collisions, 113 injured in derailments
Train accident fatalities: 7 total deaths, collisions – 3 fatalities, derailments – no fatalities
Train accidents: 1,785 accidents, 81 collisions, 1,268 derailments
Train accident injuries: 159 injuries, 13 injured in collisions, 46 injured in derailments
Train accident fatalities: 7 total deaths, collisions – no fatalities, derailments – 3 fatalities
Train accidents: 1,934 accidents, 86 collisions, 1,375 derailments
Train accident injuries: 204 injuries, 24 injured in collisions, 155 injured in derailments
Train accident fatalities: 7 total deaths, collisions – 5 fatalities, derailments – no fatalities
Train accidents: 1,848 accidents, 115 collisions, 1,283 derailments
Train accident injuries: 57 injuries, 12 injured in collisions, 20 injured in derailments
Train accident fatalities: 4 total deaths, collisions – no fatalities, derailments – no fatalities
Notably, these statistics exclude train accidents that occur at intersections between highways and railroads. However, the Federal Railroad Administration monitors the number of train accidents involving vehicles. According to the most recent data:
Amtrak is a major passenger train service in Pennsylvania. According to Amtrak, the company operates approximately 110 to 120 daily trains throughout the state, serving more than 6.6 million passengers a year. There are 13 different train routes in Pennsylvania, including:
The most popular train stations in Pennsylvania for Amtrak riders are:
Trains often move at high speeds and are crowded with passengers who are not secured in any type of restraint. When a train derails or collides with another train or vehicle, these massive machines can cause incredible damage – to those both inside and outside the train.
Like all other transportation businesses, or common carriers as they are also known, railroad companies owe a duty of care to their passengers. However, because railroad companies also own the land surrounding the railroad, they also owe a duty to those who cross or otherwise interact with railroad crossings. This includes motorists and pedestrians at railroad crossings.
A railroad company’s duty requires it to operate trains with care, take the necessary precautions to avoid an accident, and clear any hazards in the immediate area of the railroad. However, hundreds of people die each year in train accidents, and thousands more are seriously injured. The majority of these accidents involve trains colliding with people or cars at railroad crossings; however, on average, hundreds of people are injured in train derailments and train collisions involving other trains each year.
One of the issues many Pennsylvania train accident victims face in the aftermath of an accident is determining the cause of the accident. Unlike cars, trucks, and motorcycles, most people are unfamiliar with how trains work or what goes into safely operating a train. Thus, after a train derailment or another train accident, victims are frequently left wondering what went wrong.
As experienced personal injury attorneys who have handled train accidents for years, we have noticed that the vast majority of train accidents result from one of two things: operator error or mechanical malfunction. Of course, each of these two classifications can be further broken down into one or more specific causes.
The following are the most common causes of Pennsylvania train accidents:
Regardless of the reasons behind a Pennsylvania train accident, in most cases, the cause has nothing to do with the accident victim. At Console & Associates, we can help you and your family understand the recovery process and assist you in preparing a claim to help hold Amtrak or any other railroad company responsible.
When discussing train accidents, it is important to note that there are several types. In most cases, accident victims fall into one of three groups: passengers, employees of the railroad, and those injured in Pennsylvania railroad-crossing accidents. Each of these accidents involves very different considerations from the victim’s perspective, as well as from a legal perspective.
Railroad companies are common carriers. A common carrier is a public or private entity that transports people or goods for a fee. The law confers benefits to common carriers in recognition of the necessary service they provide. However, along with these benefits come responsibilities. For example, common carriers must provide their services to anyone, provided there is space available, the person offers to pay, and there is no reasonable reason to refuse to do so.
Additionally, the law imposes a special duty on a common carrier whenever it transports a passenger. This duty requires the carrier to exercise the “highest degree of care, foresight, prudence and diligence reasonably demanded at any given time by the conditions and circumstances then affecting the passenger.” While this language is hardly a model of clarity, it can be understood to mean that common carriers owe passengers a significant duty to keep them safe during their travels.
At the same time, the law recognizes that a common carrier cannot ensure someone’s safety. Thus, Pennsylvania train accident cases will often come down to whether the railroad acted reasonably, under the circumstances, to protect the passenger.
In most Pennsylvania workplace accident cases, an injured employee’s default means of recovery is through a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation claim has its benefits in that it is often much quicker than getting compensation through a personal injury claim. Additionally, these claims do not require an employee to prove their employer’s negligence caused their injuries.
However, there are also significant drawbacks. For example, a workers’ compensation claim will only cover an employee’s economic losses, including medical expenses and lost wages. Generally, non-economic damages, such as those for an employee’s pain and suffering, cannot be recovered through a Pennsylvania workers’ comp claim.
The workers’ compensation system does not apply when it comes to railroad employees who are injured on the job. Instead, injured railroad employees pursue a claim against their employer through the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). FELA was passed back in 1908 in response to the pervasive safety violations in the railroad industry.
Under FELA, railroad companies owe employees specific duties, including:
FELA claims are very different from workers’ comp claims. In fact, they more closely resemble a traditional personal injury case in that an injured worker must establish that the railroad was negligent. This is done by showing that the company violated one of the duties it owed the employee.
If an employee is successful in proving the railroad company was negligent, the employee is eligible for both economic and non-economic damages, which may include compensation for:
Under FELA, an employee must file their claim within three years of the date of the accident. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in the court dismissing the case, leaving the injured employee with no means of recovery. Thus, employees injured in Pennsylvania railroad accidents should reach out to an attorney to discuss their claim as soon as possible.
Unlike incidents involving passengers or employees, Pennsylvania railroad crossing accidents involve parties with no previous relationship with the railroad company. However, railroad companies still owe a duty to motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and others. However, these accidents can be extraordinarily complex because there may be multiple parties involved. Determining which party’s negligence caused the accident is not always straightforward.
For example, a railroad crossing accident could be caused by any of the following:
Further complicating matters is the fact that trains often travel on tracks that are owned by other companies, so it may not be obvious which parties to look to for liability. Given these complexities, an accident victim must conduct a thorough investigation of the crash before knowing how to proceed.
Of course, one of the biggest hurdles in Pennsylvania railroad crossing accidents is disproving the defendants’ claims that the injury victim’s own negligence caused their injuries. Railroad companies’ go-to defense in these cases is that the driver, passenger, or pedestrian should have been on notice that they were near train tracks and should have taken the appropriate precautions.
At Console & Associates, our team of Pennsylvania train accident lawyers commands a vast knowledge of this complex area of the law. We use this knowledge to help our clients and their families recover the compensation they need to move on after a major accident.
Every train accident is different, both in terms of how it happened as well as how the accident affected the victim and their family. At Console & Associates, we take the time to get to know you and understand the full extent of the accident’s impact on your life.
When you call to schedule a free consultation with one of our Pennsylvania train accident lawyers, here is what you can expect:
When Console and Associates handles your Pennsylvania railroad accident, you can rest assured that you, your case, and your family are in capable and caring hands.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries resulting from an Amtrak accident, SEPTA crash, or regional rail collision, contact Console & Associates. We know what it takes to get the compensation you need to move forward after being involved in a life-changing accident. In fact, we have more than 25 years of hands-on experience representing injury victims and their families in all types of Pennsylvania personal injury cases.
To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Pennsylvania train accident lawyers, give us a call at (215) 225-2040. You can also contact us through our online form to have one of our experienced attorneys reach out to you.
Console and Associates, P.C.
100 S Broad St #1523 Suite B
Philadelphia, PA 19110
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