When Life Is Derailed: Texas Railroad Accident Lawyer

Every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train, often with devastating results. An estimated 2000 people are killed or injured at highway-rail crossings each year.

Unfortunately, Texas leads the way. In 2023, there were 246 highway-rail collisions in the Lone Star State, resulting in 16 deaths and 76 injuries.

While highway-rail crossing collisions, which occur where a railroad track intersects with a public road, are the most common type of train accident, they are not the only ones. Other types of Texas railroad accidents include train derailments, collisions between trains, pedestrian accidents, and employee and worker injuries

If you have been injured or a loved one killed in a Texas railroad accident due to another person or entity’s negligence or recklessness, it’s important to seek help from an experienced Texas railroad accident injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

In this article, the personal injury attorneys at Varghese Summersett explain types of train accidents, common injuries, the process of recovering compensation, and how our law firm can help.

Types of Train/Railroad Accidents

Types of Train/Railroad Accidents in Texas

Railroad and train accidents in Texas are unfortunately not uncommon, given the state’s extensive railway network. These accidents can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. Here are some of the most frequent types of railroad accidents in Texas:

1. Train-Vehicle Collisions

Train-vehicle collisions often occur at railroad crossings. These accidents can be caused by malfunctioning signals, a lack of proper signage, or driver error, such as attempting to cross the tracks when a train is approaching. The sheer size and speed of trains make these collisions particularly dangerous.

2. Train-Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents happen when individuals walk on or near railroad tracks. Trespassing on tracks is illegal and extremely hazardous, but it remains a common cause of accidents. These incidents often result in severe injuries or fatalities due to the inability of trains to stop quickly.

3. Derailments

Derailments occur when a train comes off its tracks. This can happen due to track defects, excessive speed, mechanical failure, or human error. Derailments can cause significant damage, injuries, and loss of life, especially if the train is carrying hazardous materials.

4. Collisions Between Trains

Collisions between trains can happen due to signaling errors, human error, or mechanical failures. These accidents are often catastrophic, leading to numerous injuries and substantial property damage.

5. Mechanical Failures

Mechanical failures, such as brake malfunctions, wheel defects, or engine problems, can lead to accidents. Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to prevent these incidents, but when failures do occur, the consequences can be severe.

6. Hazardous Material Spills

Trains often transport hazardous materials, and accidents involving these substances can lead to spills, fires, and explosions. These incidents pose significant risks to public health and the environment, requiring immediate and specialized emergency response.

7. Platform and Boarding Accidents

Accidents can also occur on platforms and during the boarding or disembarking process. Slips, trips, and falls can happen due to wet surfaces, gaps between the train and platform, or overcrowded conditions.

Preventive Measures

To reduce the occurrence of railroad/train accidents, it is vital to implement and adhere to strict safety protocols. These include regular maintenance of tracks and trains, improved signaling systems, better public education on rail safety, and stringent enforcement of laws against trespassing.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a Texas railroad/train accident, it is essential to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you navigate the complex legal landscape and pursue the compensation you deserve.

When Life Is Derailed: Texas Railroad Accident Lawyer

Common Causes Of Railroad Accidents 

Railroad accidents, though relatively rare, can have devastating consequences, making it essential to understand their common causes. These incidents can result from a variety of factors, ranging from human error to mechanical failures, and from operational missteps to infrastructure issues. By examining these causes in detail, we can better understand the complexities involved in railroad safety and work towards preventing future accidents.

Human Error: Human error is a significant contributor to railroad accidents. This category includes operator misjudgment, incorrect signals given to train operators, and the failure to properly maintain trains and equipment.

Mechanical Failure: Mechanical failures are another common cause of train accidents. These can include broken rails, malfunctioning brakes, or issues with signaling equipment that controls train movement.

External Factors: External factors influencing train accidents encompass inclement weather conditions, obstacles such as debris on the tracks, and acts of vandalism targeting the railroad infrastructure.

Operational Factors: Operational factors contributing to railroad accidents include overloading of trains, speeding, and improper loading of cargo.

Infrastructure Issues: Outdated tracks or insufficient safety systems fall under infrastructure issues, which can significantly impact train safety.

Collisions: Collisions, whether between trains or between trains and vehicles, are a notable cause of railroad accidents and often result in severe consequences.

Regulatory/Management Failure: Failures in regulation or management can also lead to railroad accidents. This includes non-compliance with safety measures, inadequate training for railroad personnel, and a workplace environment that does not prioritize safety.

Understanding the common causes of railroad accidents is crucial for improving safety measures and preventing future incidents. If you or a loved one has been affected by a railroad accident, it’s essential to seek legal assistance to navigate the complexities of such cases. At our firm, we are dedicated to helping victims of railroad accidents get the compensation they deserve. By addressing factors like human error, mechanical failures, external influences, operational challenges, infrastructure deficiencies, collisions, and regulatory shortcomings, we can work together to hold the responsible parties accountable and ensure a safer future for everyone.

When Life Is Derailed: Texas Railroad Accident Lawyer

Common Railroad Accident Injuries 

Railroad accidents can lead to a wide array of injuries, varying in severity from minor to life-threatening. Understanding these common injuries is essential for recognizing the potential impact of such accidents. Victims of railroad accidents may suffer from a range of physical and psychological injuries, each requiring specific medical attention and legal consideration. Here are some of the most common injuries associated with railroad accidents:

Head Injuries: Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries, can occur as a result of a railroad accident. These injuries can have long-lasting effects on cognitive and physical functions.

Injuries to the Spinal Cord: Spinal cord injuries from railroad accidents can lead to paralysis or conditions such as a herniated disc, significantly impacting a person’s mobility and quality of life.

Bone Fractures: Bone fractures are common in railroad accidents, including rib fractures, skull fractures, and broken limbs. These injuries often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and whiplash, can result from the sudden impact or jarring movements during a railroad accident.

Internal Injuries: Internal injuries are serious and can include organ damage, such as lacerations to internal organs, and internal bleeding. These injuries often necessitate immediate and intensive medical care.

Burns: Railroad accidents can result in thermal burns from fires or explosions and chemical burns from hazardous materials. Both types of burns can cause severe pain and require long-term treatment.

Amputations: In severe cases, victims of railroad accidents may need to have one or more limbs amputated due to the extent of their injuries.

Lacerations: Lacerations, ranging from minor cuts and scrapes to severe wounds requiring stitches or surgery, are common in railroad accidents.

Psychological Impairment: Beyond physical injuries, railroad accidents can lead to psychological damage, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These conditions can be just as debilitating as physical injuries.

Respiratory Damage: Exposure to smoke and hazardous materials during a railroad accident can cause significant respiratory damage, affecting the lungs and overall respiratory health.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a railroad accident, it’s crucial to seek legal assistance to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. At our law firm, we understand the complexities of railroad accident cases and are dedicated to helping victims navigate the legal process. Our experienced attorneys will work tirelessly to hold the responsible parties accountable and secure the necessary resources for your recovery.

When Life Is Derailed: Texas Railroad Accident Lawyer

Who Can Be Held Responsible For Texas Railroad Accidents? 

Under Texas law, several parties can hold a degree of responsibility in the case of railroad accidents. They include the following:

Determining liability in railroad accidents is a complex process that involves identifying the parties responsible for ensuring the safety and proper functioning of the railroad system. Various entities can be held accountable depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Understanding who can be held responsible is crucial for victims seeking justice and compensation. Below are the key parties that may be liable in the event of a railroad accident:

Railroad Companies: Perhaps the most obvious party of liability is the railroad company itself. The plaintiff may prove negligence by demonstrating that the company failed to enforce safety regulations set by federal agencies, hired an inadequate operator, or neglected to properly maintain trains or equipment. Railroad companies have a fundamental responsibility to ensure the safety and reliability of their operations.

Train Manufacturers: Train manufacturing companies may also bear liability for railroad accidents. If a manufacturer fails to provide adequate instructions for the safe use and maintenance of train equipment, or if a design flaw is present, they may be deemed negligent. Ensuring the integrity and safety of train components is essential to preventing accidents.

Track Owners: The owners of the railroad tracks can be held responsible if inadequate maintenance of the tracks contributes to an accident. Proper track maintenance is critical for the safe operation of trains, and failure to do so can result in severe consequences.

Government Entities: Government entities may be deemed negligent if they fail to install proper crossing signals and gates or lack adequate enforcement of safety regulations. Public safety is a primary responsibility of government agencies, and negligence in this area can lead to tragic outcomes.

Vehicle Operators: The individual operating the train can play a significant role in liability. If the operator fails to adhere to crossing signals, operates the train while impaired, or exhibits negligence, they can be held accountable for the resulting accident.

Third-Party Contractors: Construction companies and other third-party contractors can face negligence claims if they fail to maintain signaling equipment or if general maintenance errors lead to unsafe conditions. These parties must adhere to strict safety standards to prevent accidents.

Freight Shippers: Companies responsible for transporting goods and materials via railroads can be held responsible if improper loading leads to derailment or if they fail to comply with safety regulations concerning the transportation of hazardous materials. Ensuring the safe loading and handling of freight is crucial for railroad safety.

Identifying the responsible parties in a railroad accident is essential for pursuing legal action and obtaining compensation for damages. At our law firm, we are dedicated to helping victims of railroad accidents navigate the complexities of liability and seek justice. Our experienced attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case, identify the liable parties, and fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you on the path to recovery and accountability.


Proving Negligence In Railroad Accidents

Proving negligence in a Texas railroad accident involves demonstrating that the responsible party failed to exercise a reasonable level of care, leading to the accident and resulting injuries. This process requires thorough investigation and a clear understanding of Texas law. Here’s a guide on how to establish negligence in such cases:

  1. Duty of Care: First, you must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. In the context of railroad accidents, various parties such as railroad companies, train operators, manufacturers, and track owners are expected to ensure the safety of passengers, employees, and the general public.
  2. Breach of Duty: Next, you need to prove that the defendant breached this duty of care. This can include demonstrating that safety regulations were not followed, proper maintenance was neglected, or safety protocols were ignored. Evidence such as maintenance logs, employee records, and safety inspection reports can be crucial in proving a breach of duty.
  3. Causation: It must be shown that the breach of duty directly caused the accident. This means establishing a clear link between the defendant’s actions (or inaction) and the accident. Expert testimony, accident reconstruction, and detailed analysis of the incident can help establish causation.
  4. Damages: Finally, you must prove that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the accident. This includes physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs. Medical records, financial statements, and personal testimonies can be used to demonstrate the extent of the damages.

Gathering Evidence:

  • Accident Reports: Obtain official reports from relevant authorities documenting the accident details.
  • Witness Testimonies: Collect statements from witnesses who can provide firsthand accounts of the incident.
  • Expert Analysis: Engage experts to analyze the accident scene, equipment, and circumstances to provide professional opinions on the cause and impact of the accident.
  • Maintenance Records: Review records to identify any lapses in maintenance or safety protocols that could indicate negligence.

Legal Guidance: Navigating the complexities of proving negligence in Texas railroad accidents requires experienced legal assistance. At our law firm, we are skilled in handling complex cases and are dedicated to helping victims get through this difficult time. Our team will thoroughly investigate the incident, gather essential evidence, and work tirelessly to prove negligence and secure the compensation you deserve.

When Life Is Derailed: Texas Railroad Accident Lawyer

Examples of Texas Railroad Accidents 

  • 2019 Itasca Train Derailment

In August 2019, a large-scale train derailment occurred near Itasca, Texas. Approximately 30 cars were derailed. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained, and no chemical spills were reported.

  • 2017 Panhandle Train Collision

In June 2017, two BNSF Railway freight trains collided head-on near Panhandle, Texas. The crash resulted in a large fire and the death of three crew members, with one injured.

  • 2015 Odessa Prison Bus-Train Collision

In January 2015, a tragic accident occurred near Odessa when a prison bus collided with a train. The incident resulted in ten fatalities, including both state officers and inmates.

  • 2012 Midland Parade Float Accident

A devastating accident took place in Midland in November 2012 when a train collided with a parade float carrying veterans. Four veterans lost their lives, and 16 others were injured. The accident occurred when the truck pulling the float was unable to move off the tracks due to a car in front of it.

  • 2013 Conroe Oil Tanker Derailment

In May 2013, several cars of a train carrying crude oil derailed in Conroe, leading to a significant oil spill. While there were no injuries, the accident highlighted concerns about the transportation of hazardous materials by rail.

  • 2004 San Antonio Train Collision

In June 2004, a serious collision occurred near San Antonio when a Union Pacific train failed to adhere to a traffic signal and collided with a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train. The accident resulted in four fatalities and 50 injuries.

These incidents underscore the ongoing challenges in rail safety and the potential consequences of accidents involving trains, particularly those carrying hazardous materials. They have led to continued efforts to improve safety measures, regulations, and emergency response protocols in Texas and throughout the United States.

Types of Compensation Available

Types Of Compensation

In Texas, there are types of possible compensation accessible to victims of injury as a result of railroad accidents, including:

Economic Damages: Victims can receive financial compensation for tangible losses such as lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage. These reimbursements help cover the costs associated with the accident, allowing victims to manage their financial burdens more effectively.

Non-Economic Damages: For losses that cannot be easily quantified in monetary terms, non-economic damages are available. These include compensation for emotional distress, disability, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Such damages recognize the profound personal and psychological impacts that victims endure.

Punitive Damages: In cases where the defendant’s behavior was particularly reckless or negligent, punitive damages may be awarded. These are intended not only to provide financial compensation to the victim but also to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.

Securing the appropriate type of compensation can significantly aid in the recovery process for railroad accident victims. By understanding and pursuing these various forms of damages, victims and their families can find some measure of relief and justice amid their challenging circumstances.

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How a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

At Varghese Summersett, our personal injury division comprises skilled and knowledgeable attorneys who are dedicated to going the extra mile to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your suffering. Our team’s extensive experience and expertise enable them to handle even the most complex cases with confidence and precision. When you choose a Fort Worth railroad accident lawyer from our firm, you can expect the following comprehensive services:

  • Thorough Investigation and Analysis: We conduct a meticulous investigation and detailed analysis of the accident to gather all pertinent evidence and facts.
  • Identifying Liable Parties and Insurance Policies: Our attorneys work diligently to identify all responsible parties and relevant insurance policies to maximize your compensation.
  • Comprehensive Damage Assessment: We assess the full scope of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, to ensure no aspect of your suffering is overlooked.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Our team handles negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf, striving to secure a fair settlement that reflects the true extent of your losses.
  • Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit: If necessary, we will file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue justice through the legal system.
  • Court Representation: Should your case go to trial, we will vigorously fight for your rights in court, advocating for the best possible outcome.

By choosing Varghese Summersett, you are entrusting your case to a team of dedicated professionals committed to achieving justice for you. We understand the challenges you face and are here to support you every step of the way, ensuring that you receive the compensation needed to rebuild your life after a railroad accident.

Hire our personal injury attorneys who do not settle for less.

Speak to a Texas Railroad Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured or tragically killed in a train or railroad accident due to negligence, it is crucial to contact a Texas railroad lawyer immediately. We are here to assist you. The personal injury team at Varghese Summersett recognizes the profound physical, emotional, and financial impact of these incidents, especially when long-term care is required.

We are committed to helping you obtain compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Notably, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you never pay anything upfront or out-of-pocket. We only get paid after your case is successfully resolved. Contact us today at (817) 203-2220 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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