The Most Common Causes of Train Accidents in California

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The Most Common Causes of Train Accidents in California

The Most Common Causes of Train Accidents in California

Though train accidents do not happen every day, when they do happen they are often the top news stories. Why? Because train accidents generally involve fatalities and catastrophic injuries. Trains are very large, they weigh a lot, and they generally travel at very fast speeds. As a result, any accident can have serious long-term consequences.

It is often the case that a train accident is the result of a mistake made by a person. If you have been injured in a train accident, of you have lost a loved one in a train accident, then we urge you to contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 as soon as possible for a free legal consultation. Even if you were not on the train, derailments can result in destruction of your property. Call us if that is the case.

The most recent data on train derailments

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were more than 9,200 train derailments between 2010 and 2016. However, it does seem that they are on the decline. Consider that in 2015 there were 212 more derailments than 2016’s number of 1,149.

Throughout the state of California, there were 444 train derailments between 2010 and 2016. Again, the number is decreasing: In 2016 there were 59, which was 11 lower than in 2015. Keep in mind that the news is not all good. In 2016 there were 787 fatal train deaths and 156 of those happened in California.

Train derailments are the most common cause of train accidents

Whether a train derailment happens on the side tracks or the yard tracks, derailments are the most common cause of train accidents. They are extremely dangerous because they happen when the train is traveling very fast, which means the impact can be extreme.

Research has been done to uncover what the most common causes of derailments are. They found that many factors can contribute to derailments including joint bar defects, broken rails, track-train interaction, track geometry, buckled tracks, and wide gauges. More than half of derailments are the result of broken rails and weld.

The second most common cause of derailment is equipment failure with the train or cars. Factors that can cause this type of accident include train break failure, car bearing failure, locomotive bearing, locomotive electric defects, wheel failure, car axle and journal defects, and broken car wheels.

The third most common cause of train derailments is mistakes made by humans. These can include speeding, vandalism, not obeying display signs, the driver being in poor physical condition, violating switching or mainline rules, not setting track switches correctly, poor communication with railroad operators, and obstruction.

No matter the cause, train derailments are traumatic. In many cases, those who have been involved in them have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you believe you have cause then we encourage you to contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.


Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas Located at
8647 Haven Avenue Suite 200, Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
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