As defined by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), train accidents are those which involve rail equipments on track which has resulted to economic damages to the tracks or the equipment itself.

These accidents, especially those involving other vehicles, such as cars, will certainly not only damage the track and the equipment but the other piece of automotive as well. Car-train collisions and derailment have resulted to thousands of deaths through the years and will continue to take lives if proper safety precautions won't be observed.

Collisions involving trains are almost always certain to result in death or serious injuries that the victim would have to endure throughout his life. Victims can seek compensation from the railroad company if their accident is caused by either of the following factors:

  • Poor train maintenance – There are cases wherein collisions could have been prevented if only the train had been maintained properly. Defective brakes and controls greatly affect the operator's ability to safely maneuver the train.
  • Operator error/negligence – A lot of train accidents can be attributed to the operator's poor judgment and negligence. According to the FRA, human factor is one of the leading causes of train accidents as 32.77 percent or 408 of the total accidents in 2010 have resulted from it. In some of these cases, the train operators are found to be intoxicated, drowsy, and distracted which has seriously compromised their ability to control the train.
  • Defective safety gate – Safety gates should prevent a car from being stuck on the tracks while a train is approaching. Needless to say, failure of these safety gates can be deadly to motorists who are unaware of the oncoming train.
  • Poor track maintenance – Lights and the track itself are the most common problems in railroads. Train companies and administrators should maintain the safety of their equipments and train tracks to avoid accidents and derailments that may result to lawsuits.

Victims of car-train collisions wherein any of the aforementioned factors caused the accident can recover compensatory damages from the railroad company. Since they are considered as common carriers, train companies are considered to be responsible for the goods and the people that they transport, so, they may face a heavier penalty for their negligence.

To know more, it would be wise to consult with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer in your area as they can explain and detail the compensatory damages that should be sought by victims in train accidents.