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Why Do Train Derailments Happen?

Published on Aug 29, 2018 at 1:10 pm in Personal Injury.

Thousands of train accidents occur each year in the United States. According to the Rail Safety Statistics Report, train accidents are caused by non-rail grade crossing collisions, rail grade crossing collisions, derailments, fires, and other miscellaneous events. Keep reading to learn the specifics of train derailments and why they happen.

From 2007-2013, the Federal Railroad Administration collected and evaluated train accident statistics. While train derailments fell near the bottom of the list for reasons why train accident happen, their impact is still significant. Approximately 61 derailments happen every year. Between 2007 and 2013, 114 people were injuries as a result of a train derailment. No deaths were reported.

A derailment happens when a train is no longer traveling on the mainline track. This can happen for a variety of reasons; however, most accidents are related to the equipment failure, highway-rail issues, human error, signal and track issues, and miscellaneous events.

Equipment Failure.

When a train faces mechanical or electrical issues, serious consequences can ensue. These issues often arise if a train has not been properly maintained and serviced. 15 percent of train derailments are a direct result of equipment failure.

Highway-Rail Accidents.

Highway-rail accidents occur when drivers, whether they’re in cars or trucks, collide with a train or get stuck on the tracks. Many of these accidents are caused by impaired or distracted drivers. Nine percent of train derailments occur because of highway-rail collisions.

Human Error.

Unsurprisingly, human error is one of the leading causes of train derailments. Almost 30 percent of derailments are caused by mistakes made by the railroad engineers or other operators. The most frequent human errors have to do with improperly switching lines, speeding, and turning incorrectly.

Track and Signal Errors.

Together, track and signal errors account for over 40 percent of train derailment accidents. Track issues arise if they are not properly maintained. Broken or defective rails or bolt issues happen frequently. Power switch systems have the potential to fail, as well.

Miscellaneous Events.

Miscellaneous events result in almost 15 percent of all trail derailments. These events can be tied to the weather, other extreme environmental conditions like flooding or wildfires, or improper loading procedures that cause shifting.

Train accident lawsuits are often complex and long battles. Train corporations have strong legal teams who are only focused on the overhead for the company. If you’ve been the victim of a train derailment, the West Virginia train accident lawyers at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can help you recover the compensation you deserve for the train company’s negligence and your injuries.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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