Railroad Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a railroad crossing accident and have questions about your eligibility to pursue compensation for damages incurred, the Long Island personal injury lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are here to help. We are adept at winning personal injury lawsuits against profit-hungry companies whose negligence has victimized ordinary Americans. We can provide you with the trusted advice and representation you deserve as the victim of a railroad accident, whether it involved the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), Metro-North, NJ Transit, or other commuter train line.
We truly understand the full implications for victims of these types of accidents. If you survive a railroad crossing accident, chances are you’ll be saddled with permanent injuries that require extensive medical treatment and may necessitate missing work or even quitting a job.
In times like these, survival can mean finding the right lawyer to represent your interests in a court of law, so that you can hold the offending railroad company accountable for the harm they’ve caused you and your family—and so that you can recover the compensation due you.
Little-known facts about railroad crossing accidents
About every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train in this country, according to Operation Lifesaver, an organization that through education and advocacy efforts seeks to lessen the frequency of railroad crossing accidents in the United States.
On its website, Operation Lifesaver tells some of the heartbreaking stories behind the statistic. Take, for example, 15-year-old Shawn Potter, who bought into the myth that such tragedy “couldn’t happen to him,” as his mother put it. Potter was playing chicken on the tracks when a train struck and killed him.
Meanwhile, estimates predict that the demand for freight rail transportation will nearly double in the next 20 years, and that the number of passengers traveling by rail will also significantly rise—this according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Strategic Plan for 2010-2016.
Already, more than 250,000 highway-rail grade crossings etch the U.S. landscape, with 96% of all train accidents occurring at these crossings. The Federal Highway Administration maintains that nearly a quarter of these crossings are unprotected, meaning without flashing lights or swing-arm gates to war motorists of approaching trains.
Here are a few more eye-opening facts you probably didn’t know:
- Every day, 333 million vehicles cross railroad tracks in this country.
- In the year 2012, 270 people were killed in railroad crossing accidents and 442 people were killed while “trespassing” on railroad property.
- Half of all railroad crossing accidents occur at intersections with active warning devices.
- You are 40 times more likely to die in a train crash than in an automobile crash.
Railroad accidents in New York
Because public transportation is a way of life for so many New Yorkers, their risks of one day experiencing a railroad accident tend to be higher than for other Americans. If the average American is 40 times more likely to die in a train crash than in an automobile crash, the average New Yorker can expect the likelihood of his/her dying in a train crash to be even higher.
Federal statistics released in 2014 showed that safety-related accidents involving the Long Island Rail Road had more than doubled since 2004. The total number of deaths on the LIRR grew by an alarming 225% over that 10-year period, with 84 fatalities occurring from 2004 to 2013, 29 of which were rail-crossing deaths. Keep in mind that these statistics do not distinguish between deaths resulting from safety-related issues, such as derailings and crashes, and those unrelated to LIRR safety protocols, such as heart attacks.
Statistics tell even more of the story:
- A 2014 investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board into Metro-North Railroad safety protocol lapses found, according to NY Senator Charles Schumer, a “horror house of negligence, resulting in injury, mayhem and even death.” Six Metro-North accidents in a single year led to 12 deaths, including the gruesome railroad crossing accident in February 2015 in the Westchester town of Valhalla, in which an SUV stranded on a railroad crossing exploded when hit by the oncoming commuter train.
- In recent years, New York has ranked in the “Top Ten” for states in the Union boasting the highest number of railroad crossing fatalities—a dubious honor, to be sure.
- In 2012, New York saw 24 people die for “trespassing” on or near railroads.
- A recent study shows that around 103 railroad accidents occurred in New York over a recent one-year period.
- Another study shows that within the course of a year approximately 754 New Yorkers were injured or killed in a train accident, and that of those injured or killed, a significant number were hurt or killed at a railroad crossing.
Railroad crossing accident injuries—causes and liability
Liability for railroad crossing accidents typically falls on the shoulders of the railroad company operating the train, the railroad company that owns the track, and/or the train designer or manufacturer. The railroad company that operates the train is usually responsible for ensuring the proper training of railroad staff operating the train and the proper maintenance of the train locomotives. The railroad company that owns the track must also abide by certain safety precautions, such as, for example, properly installing and maintaining warning lights and gates at railroad crossings, or keeping tracks in safe, tip-top condition.
Finally, the designer or manufacturer of a train involved in a railroad crossing accident can also be held accountable for ensuring that the train has adequate warning technology in place, such as flashing headlights and warning whistles, bells and horns; the manufacturer can also be held responsible for components of the train that may contribute to an accident, like defective brakes, for instance.
The automobile driver, too, or the local city or county where the railroad crossing accident occurred, can also be held liable for contributing to a collision.
The facts of each unique case require thorough investigation from a team of trained experts, led and facilitated by Edelman, Krasin & Jaye; we can determine whether you have a legitimate railroad injury lawsuit, and if, so, against whom in particular.
Were your injuries the result of negligence on the part of the railway company that owned the track or the manufacturer of the train? Or, were you the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, in a township that had failed to repair collapsing road infrastructure at a train crossing? Edelman, Krasin & Jaye can help you find answers.
Types of railroad crossing accident injuries
Injuries from railroad crossing accidents run the gamut.
Here are some common injuries associated with railroad crossing accidents:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Scars and disfigurement
Filing a railroad accident lawsuit on Long Island
If any of the above injuries describe your life in the devastating aftermath of a train accident in Nassau or Suffolk counties, or anywhere in the Tri-State area, we at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye want to hear from you. Call us today for a free consultation, and we’ll set you on the road to recovery and to a more hope-filled future. To learn more about your options for filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York, call us today at 1-800-469-7429.
- Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Safety Analysis, http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/default.aspx
- New York Times, Metro-North and Railroad Regulators Are Criticized on Safety, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/nyregion/metro-north-and-railroad-regulators-are-criticized-on-safety.html
- Statemaster.com, “Transportation Statistics: Railroad Accidents: Fatalities,” http://www.statemaster.com/graph/trn_rai_acc_fat-transportation-rail-accidents-fatalities
- National Transportation Safety Board, “Railroad Accident Report,” https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/reports_rail.html