What Are My Rights if I Was Injured in a Train Derailment?

Due to their speed and size, train accidents usually involve a considerable amount of damage. When a train transporting hazardous materials derails, it can lead to explosions, fires, damage to the environment, and costly clear-up efforts. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, derailments are the most common type of train accident, with 135,507 taking place since 1975. If you were injured in a train derailment, working with a knowledgeable train accident lawyer is crucial to protect your rights. Train accidents are often complex since they involve liability issues, multiple parties, and multiple insurance companies. The experienced Norfolk train accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you investigate the accident, and ensure you receive maximum financial compensation, especially if you sustained a disability or long-term injury in the accident.

How Do Train Derailments Happen?

Train derailments are often caused by a variety of factors. Some of the more common causes of train derailments are: 

  • Defects in the Tracks: Issues with the condition of the track, like misaligned switches, worn-out ties, or broken rails, can cause derailments. Routine inspections and track maintenance are vital to preventing these problems.
  • Mechanical Failures: Equipment failures with the train’s components, such as malfunctioning axles or wheels, can lead to derailments. Rolling stock inspections and regular maintenance are crucial to identifying and addressing potential issues.
  • Human Error: Railway personnel and train operators can make errors that result in derailments. Failing to follow safety protocols, miscommunications, and mistakes in switching tracks can all contribute to train accidents.
  • Excessive Speed: Trains traveling at speeds that exceed safe limits for the conditions and track can derail. Speeding also increases the amount of stress placed on the train and the track, ultimately leading to instability.
  • Overloading: Trains that have imbalanced cargo or are overloaded can become unsteady, making a derailment more likely. Appropriate weight distribution and loading techniques are essential for train safety.
  • Old Infrastructure: Aging rail infrastructures are more vulnerable to defects and failures, making routine upgrades and maintenance vital for safety.
  • Fatigue: When maintenance crews or train operators are fatigued, it often results in delayed reaction times and poor decision-making, both of which increase the risk of derailment.

To prevent train derailments, a comprehensive approach including regular inspections, maintenance, adherence to established procedures, and safety training is required. Technological advances, such as automated safety systems and sensors, have also greatly improved railroad safety and lowered the risk of derailments. If you were injured in a train accident, the skilled Norfolk train accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can collect and compile evidence to prove the cause of the accident and determine who is liable for your injuries.

Can I Sue If I Was Injured in a Train Accident?  

Whether or not you are entitled to file a suit for damages for injuries you received during a train accident will depend on multiple factors. In most cases, a person injured in a train accident or at a train crossing will have grounds to take legal action. However, it is still important to consult with the experienced Norfolk train accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp so we can evaluate the facts of your case. During your free case review, we can help you determine if improper maintenance, equipment failure, negligence, and any other factors caused or contributed to your accident and if you have grounds for a lawsuit. Keep in mind that a two-year statute of limitations applies so seeking legal representation promptly after your accident is critical.  

Talk to a Norfolk Train Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a derailment or other type of train accident, contact the Norfolk train accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We can perform an investigation, gather statements, records, and other proof of negligence that supports your claim, and fight for full and fair compensation. Using these methods, we were able to achieve a $60 million settlement for a man who was severely injured when a Norfolk Southern train derailed and crashed through the gas station where he worked, trapping him inside the wreckage.

To schedule your free case evaluation, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out the contact form on our website. Our offices are in Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach. 


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