Who is to Blame for Railroad Accidents?

Railroad accidents are not common, but when they happen they often involve serious injury or fatality. The family of a train accident victim has a right to pursue justice in the wake of any accident, and in some cases hold the responsible party liable for damages. In some cases, if the victim was also negligent, the liability is shared and the damages reduced.

In a recent tragedy a train struck a car that was stopped on the tracks in Pompano Beach. A woman who was a passenger in the car was killed, though the driver and other passengers escaped injury. Upon investigation, Broward County Sheriff’s officers concluded that the warning signal system was operating properly at the time of the crash. In other words, the car that was struck pulled onto the train tracks despite the fact that the warning lights were flashing. As this was the case, the transit authorities are not likely to be held liable for the tragic death.

In a 2014 train-related death, also in Pompano Beach, a man was apparently lying on the tracks as a train approached, and the conductor was unable to stop the train in time. Clearly if a person was lying on the train tracks, the approaching train can in no way be held responsible for the man’s death.

However, in a 2012 incident involving the Miami airport people mover, several people were injured when a train car derailed. Following an investigation it was determined that certain bolts were not properly secured or torqued, and this was the direct cause of the accident. As the investigation ruled that, despite the fact that the train had undergone a routine inspection just hours before, human error was the cause of the crash. The maintenance company responsible for inspecting the people mover is legally liable for damages.

Trains travel at high speeds and are therefore difficult to stop quickly. When an accident occurs, it is usually unavoidable. When determining fault in a train accident it is crucial to gain an accurate picture of the circumstances. The litigation team at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivy & Fronrath is dedicated to investigating your case thoroughly and winning you the maximum compensation you deserve. Call our West Palm Beach offices at 561-655-1990 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.