According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there are approximately 3,000 train accidents in the U.S. each year. These accidents typically result in death, serious injuries, and property damage. About half of all railroad accidents occur at inadequately protected crossings.
In 2008, a law was enacted that would help to put an end to many of those train accidents. Under the law, railroads operating in the U.S. are required to install new technology systems called positive train control (PTC). PTC systems use GPS, wireless radio, and computers to monitor train positions and speed. They use that information to stop the trains from colliding, derailing because of excessive speed, going the wrong way because of a switching mistake, or entering a track where maintenance is being performed. The systems are aimed at preventing human errors, which are responsible for about 40 percent of train accidents. The systems are required to be installed and running by the end of 2015.
However, currently only a few railroads are expected to meet the deadline. The rest of the railroads are currently reporting that they face technical and logistical hurdles. As a result, they claim they can’t meet the deadline, even though many of them have spent billions of dollars working on the systems.
Recently, four U.S. Senators with ties to the railroad industry introduced a bill that would give railroads another five years to install the systems, pushing the deadline back to 2020. The railroad industry spent about $47 million lobbying the federal government in 2012 alone.
Statistics show that the railroads are usually responsible when a train accident occurs. Some of the primary causes of train accidents include human factors, such as speeding or failing to pay attention, equipment defects, defects with the train track, and defects with the signals. Fortunately, some train accidents can be prevented by drivers or pedestrians with proper care. This includes walking a safe distance from train tracks, not stopping on the tracks, and crossing tracks only in designated crossing areas.
Tragically, when a train accident occurs, especially an accident between a train and a passenger vehicle, the individuals in the vehicle are killed or are catastrophically injured. Railroads also have extremely powerful allies on their sides which can make it very difficult for victims of train accidents to recover compensation for their injuries. Railroads spend huge amounts not only on lobbyists who fight for laws in their favor, but also on defense attorneys who can make it hard for a train wreck victim to get the compensation he or she deserves.
If you have been injured in a train accident, it’s important that you fight for your legal rights. You may have large expenses for medical bills and damage to your vehicle. In addition, you may be unable to work or resume your normal activities, or you may be in a great deal of pain. You are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that victims of train accidents should hold the railroads or other responsible parties legally liable. If you have been injured in a train accident in the San Francisco area, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland personal injury attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She works hard on behalf of accident victims in order to get them the compensation they deserve. Call her today to learn more about how she can help you with your case.