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Train Accident

The Devastating Wake of Truck and Train Accidents
The Devastating Wake of Truck and Train Accidents 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Q: Who is responsible for injuries caused in a train or truck accident?

One in eight traffic fatalities in the United States involves big rigs. In 2015, there were 34,000 truck accidents in Texas alone. Not surprisingly, the occupants of passenger vehicles that crash with these behemoths often end up dead or survive with catastrophic injuries.

Because of this reality, trucking companies and truck drivers are subject to special state and federal safety rules including but not limited to regulations involving training, vehicle inspections, and restrictions on the number of hours drivers can drive each day. While there are many reasons truck accidents may be caused by the truck driver, distracted driving and driver fatigue are common ones.

The size and weight of semi-trucks are unmatched by nearly all moving vehicles they encounter in their travels – – except perhaps a train.

Train accidents also leave devastation in their wake for similar reasons. And they occur every two hours in the United States.

Recently, Amtrak reportedly had two separate train accidents– just hours apart on the same day – – one in Washington and the other in Texas. In the Texas accident a semi-truck reportedly failed to clear a train crossing and was struck by the train. In the Washington accident, a train allegedly on its inaugural run derailed, sending some cars plummeting onto the interstate below, reportedly killing at least three and injuring several others as 77 people were reportedly taken to the hospital—including passengers as well as motorists driving on the interstate below when the derailment happened. An investigation continues into the speed and working conditions of the new train and the conditions of the recently upgraded tracks.

A personal injury lawsuit may be commenced when a victim suffers serious injuries as a result of the negligent, willful, or reckless actions of another person or entity. Compensatory damages might include current and future medical expenses, current and future lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.

If the victim dies as a result of their injuries, their closest surviving relatives may be entitled to damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition to recovering the victim’s final medical and funeral expenses, compensatory damages may include loss of financial support, loss of consortium, loss of services, loss of prospective inheritance, and more depending on each case’s particular circumstances.

If you or a loved one has been injured, or a loved one has been killed, in any kind of accident as a result of the actions or inactions of someone else, the Law Firm of Chandler, Mathis & Zivley can help you obtain the maximum financial compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Lufkin and Houston, we’ve been serving Texans and those injured while visiting Texas for over 40 years.


When Luck Ran Out: Catastrophe on the Tracks
When Luck Ran Out: Catastrophe on the Tracks 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Q: Is it negligence if a track owner fails to attend to problems at a railroad crossing where multiple accidents have occurred and another vehicle gets stuck and struck there?

Texans know that size matters. At least in terms of personal injury accidents, it does.

Generally speaking, in cases of great disparity the larger, heavier vehicle offers better protection in a collision and its occupants may fare better in an accident. For example, in a pedestrian–car accident, the car always fares better. In a car-bus accident, the bus fares better. And in a train accident, the train usually wins out no matter what it hits.

This theory proved true in an accident between a freight train and a 20+ ton casino charter bus that became “stuck at a steep grade crossing on the tracks”. The violent impact of the train-bus collision sent the busload of gamblers a distance of over 200 feet, killing four people and endangering more than 40 others.

Fifteen of the passengers filed a $250 million dollar lawsuit against the bus company, the tour company that arranged the casino trip, the company that owned and maintained the tracks, and others for the wrongful death and personal injury of the victims.

To prevail in a personal injury or wrongful death action, plaintiffs must show not only that they suffered damages but must also prove that their damages were caused as a result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of another person or entity.

Once liability is established, damages recoverable in a personal injury action may include current and future medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. In a wrongful death claim, close relatives of the victim may be able to recover damages such as the victim’s final medical costs and funeral expenses, loss of income/support, and more depending upon the survivor’s relationship to the victim and the particular circumstances of the case.

Reportedly, “at least 17 accidents had occurred previously at the crossing, including at least two accidents within the last two years where large vehicles were stuck on the tracks while trying to cross.” Was the company that owned and maintained the tracks negligent in not giving this crossing “needed attention”? Was that company’s conductor negligent in failing to stop in time to avoid the collision?

A pedestrian or vehicle gets struck by a train every two hours in the United States and nearly 40% of all train accidents are caused by track defects.

Lawsuits Over Train Accidents Spur Safety Upgrades
Lawsuits Over Train Accidents Spur Safety Upgrades 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Every two hours, a pedestrian or automobile in the United States is struck by a train. This is a shockingly high accident rate considering the fact that train accidents are often deadly. Unfortunately, efforts to make trains safer have basically stalled, with the companies involved claiming new safety technology is cost prohibitive. Lawsuits are one way those who have been injured in a train-related accident, or their loved ones, can push for safety upgrades while also seeking compensation for their injuries.

Houston Railroads Are Some Of The Worst

Houston has one of the most deadly railways in the country, yet efforts to make it safer seem to only come after someone has been injured or killed. Train speeds were only lowered in certain high-traffic areas after tragic accidents, and fencing that is needed to protect pedestrians all around the city is only being installed in areas where someone has died. How many people must be injured or killed before the whole system is made safer?

Holding Metro Responsible

In order to hold the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s feet to the fire, anyone who is injured in a train accident, and their loved ones, should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit can help you get compensation for any injuries you have suffered. Metro, or whatever other railroad that is involved, could be forced to cover your medical expenses and reimburse you for lost wages. If you are the loved one of someone who died in a train accident, you may also be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on your deceased loved one’s behalf.

So It Never Happens Again

However, many people who have been injured in train accidents are not satisfied with a check — they want changes. A lawsuit can give you leverage to negotiate for safety improvements that can benefit everyone, and keep what happened to you and your family from happening again.

It is time the railroads start taking passenger, pedestrian, and driver safety seriously. Needed safety upgrades are well-known, they just aren’t being done. Lawsuits are often the best way to get action on upgrades that should have been done years ago.

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