New Mexico offers numerous options to travel by train for commutes to work, inter-state travel, and tourism. Trains are generally considered safe, but tragic accidents do happen. Even accidents that don’t lead to deaths or make headlines can still land you with significant injuries and the expenses that follow. If you’re injured by a train in the Albuquerque area, you deserve top-notch legal care. A train accident attorney can help you fight for justice and receive compensation from the negligent party who caused you harm.
How Dangerous Are Trains?
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there were 11,896 train accidents at railroad crossings in 2014, which resulted in 804 fatalities and thousands of injuries. Trains kill approximately 1 person every 100 minutes. Occupants of vehicles that are hit by a train are 40 times more likely to die than if they had collided with another car.
Most Common Causes Of Train Accidents
Train-related injuries can happen in numerous ways, including when a train details, when a train hits a car or pedestrian, when a passenger is injured inside a train, or when a passenger is injured while boarding or disembarking.
Train accidents tend to be less frequent compared to other modes of travel, but when they happen, they can be catastrophic. Some of the most common causes of train accidents include:
- Operator error. In 2011, the FRA reported that 16 of 31 accidents surveyed involved human error, according to HG.org.
- Inexperienced or fatigued train operators. While these causes might fall under operator error, they might also be the fault of train companies that do not provide adequate operator training or that require operators to work long hours that result in fatigue.
- Defects in the track. These defects could come from maintenance errors or structural problems. The FRA report found that 12 of the 31 accidents surveyed in 2011 involved problems with the track, roadbed, or other structures.
- Train derailments. While more of an effect than a cause, these catastrophes can result from any number of issues including defects in the track, operational error, a collision with another object, and more. According to the FRA, broken rails and welding are the most common cause of train derailments in the U.S.
- Mechanical or electrical failures, possibly caused by a negligent train company or parts manufacturer.
- Problems with the signals, crossing arms, and warning lights. According to the FRA, more than half of all railroad accidents occur at unprotected crossings and more than 80 percent of crossings lack adequate warning devices such as lights and gates. This could surely point to negligence on the part of the responsible company or government entity.
Who Is At Fault For A Train Accident?
Personal injury cases will always center around the question: who was at fault for the accident? For a party to be at fault, they must have been negligent to an extent that they caused the accident and resulting injuries. And it’s possible for more than one party to be at fault. It’s even possible for the injured party to be at fault. If you as the injured party were partly at fault for the injuries, then your compensation may be reduced accordingly. But while injured parties sometimes share fault, train accidents often happen because of negligent train companies or other authorities.
However, while there is usually no simple answer to the question of who was at fault for the accident, you can be sure that the other party will try to blame you to avoid paying out compensation. A personal injury attorney who is highly experienced in New Mexico train accidents can help you avoid getting blamed for an accident that was caused by someone else.
What You Might Be Entitled To
If you were injured in a train accident that was caused at least in part by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Victims of personal injury accidents are often entitled to compensation to cover medical treatments (including ongoing treatments such as physical therapy), pain and suffering, treatment for emotional injuries such as PTSD, lost income (past and future), loss of income earning potential (such as if there are long term disabilities), and much more. Find out what your case is worth!
Your Next Steps
After getting the immediate medical attention that you need, contact an Albuquerque train accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you prove how much damage was done, who was at fault, and why you’re entitled to the compensation that you deserve! By contacting the Law Office of Brian K. Branch, you can ensure maximum dedication to your case and experienced knowledge of New Mexico personal injury law. Contact us today!