The Rail Division of the Washington State Department of Transportation is responsible for overseeing and managing Amtrak, Cascades, the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor and intercity passenger rail service. Many Washington residents rely on trains to go to Portland or Vancouver or to just travel throughout the state. It is a relatively safe and cost-effective way to travel. However, accidents can happen. When train accidents do occur, the injuries are often severe or even catastrophic.
Train Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis, there were 10,880 train accidents and reported incidents in the United States in the year 2012. In those accidents, 702 people were killed. Of the 1,734 train accidents that occurred in the year 2012, nine people were killed. There were also 154 collisions, 1,276 derailments, 576 incidents involving faulty tracks, 654 incidents resulting from human error and 202 reported accidents that occurred as a result of equipment failures.
Causes of Train Accidents
Unlike car drivers, there are few accident avoidance maneuvers available for train operators. When the track is poorly maintained or when there is a large object on the tracks, there is little even the most skilled and attentive operator can do to prevent an accident. The most severe train accidents involve derailments, collisions with other trains or vehicles, crashes with pedestrians and mechanical failures. Many of these accidents can be prevented through proper maintenance of the tracks, regular inspections of the train, the installment and upkeep of railroad crossing signs and careful monitoring of busy train stations.
In the Aftermath of a Crash
The steps you take after being involved in a Washington train accident could affect your ability to receive financial compensation for your losses. It is important that you:
- Receive medical attention from emergency responders.
- Seek prompt medical attention.
- Take relevant photographs at the scene.
- Write down as soon as possible everything you remember about the crash so that you have all the facts right away.
- Make sure your name is on the incident report and that you have the contact information for the train company and witnesses to the crash.
Liability Issues and Compensation
All mass carriers have a legal obligation to provide the utmost level of care to passengers. Victims of train accidents can pursue compensation from at-fault parties for medical bills, time away from work, pain and suffering, the cost of rehabilitation services and a number of other related damages. It is important that you carefully calculate the potential value of your claim before seeking compensation for your losses. Accepting an inadequate settlement will negate your ability to seek additional support in the future.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Washington train accident, please contact the experienced train accident attorneys at The Bernard Law Group to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. We have a long and successful track record of helping injured victims and their families obtain fair compensation for their injuries, damages and losses. Please contact us at 1-800-418-8282 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.