California One of Top 10 States for Train Accidents
In some cases motorists injured in train accidents may be entitled to compensation.
Since 1981, great progress has been made in reducing the incidence of train accidents in America. According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, accidents at railroad crossings have actually decreased 78 percent since this time.
However, the accidents that do occur result in higher rates of injuries and fatalities. In 1981 there was 1 fatality for every 13 accidents and 1 injury for every 2.8 accidents. In 2013 there was 1 fatality for every 8.3 accidents and 1 injury for every 2.2 accidents. It is hard to say what has caused this trend, but it is certainly safe to say that cars are not designed to withstand collisions with trains. The force of a freight train with just 30 cars (and most have more) hitting your car is about the same as the force of your car running over a soda can. There is just no contest.
Train Accidents in California
California is among the top ten states in the nation for train accidents. This is primarily due to California’s size and the fact that we have many rail crossings within state lines. Another large state, Texas, is actually the worst state for train accidents, with 70 accidents at public crossings and 21 at private crossings in the first quarter of 2014. California had less than half that, with 30 accidents at public crossings and 2 at private crossings during the same time period.
Preventing Train Accidents
Unfortunately, many accidents between a train and a vehicle occur because the driver of the vehicle goes around the barriers to cross the tracks at an unsafe time. Therefore one simple way to reduce train accidents is for drivers to simply be more patient and always wait for barriers to rise before crossing.
Another possible cause of a train-vehicle accident is malfunctioning signals and barriers at the railroad tracks. While railroad companies are responsible for maintaining these signals, drivers may still want to err on the side of caution and always slow down or stop at all railroad crossings. After visually confirming that no train is coming, they may then safely cross the tracks.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Suits
If it can be established that the accident was not the motorist’s fault, they may be able to secure compensation from the train company. For example, maybe the signal did malfunction, or maybe the train engineer was speeding or distracted at the time of the accident. Considering that train accidents are often catastrophic, you are likely to have lots of medical bills and other expenses after an accident. It is certainly worth investigating the possibility of a lawsuit with a qualified train accident attorney like Fernando D. Vargas.