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Railroad and Train Accidents: A Guide to Legal Recourse

Whether for freight or travel, railroads are a vital transportation component in Texas and the entire United States. Air travel gets more attention, but more than 22 million people travel by train daily. Most are commuters.

Train accident

Trains carry 1.6 billion tons of raw and finished US goods every year as part of a network of transport with trucks and barges, according to the Association of American Railroads. In 2021, nearly 111 million tons of freight were shipped by rail just through the Lone Star State. This includes Hazmat (hazardous materials) delivered without incident over 99% of the time. In 2022, the average freight train carried 4,089 tons, up from 2,923 tons in 2000.

Texas has over 10,000 miles of freight railroad miles, with much going through Houston. Whether on the outskirts of town or while crossing Bissonnet outside of West U, railroad accidents can happen anywhere.

Causes of Train Accidents

The US Department of Transportation estimates that nearly 6,000 train-car accidents occur yearly in the United States. Most of these accidents occur at railroad crossings and lead to roughly 600 deaths and more than 23,000 injuries.

Because of their sheer size and weight, train accidents are some of the most catastrophic, leaving accident victims with shattered bodies and lives. Most of these accidents are either derailments or collisions, sometimes at crossings.

Some accidents are impatient drivers crossing when they shouldn’t. Others are from the negligence of the railroad, the carrier company, or several other parties. Accidents can result from:

  • Derailments
  • Hazardous Crossings with:
    • Malfunctioning or non-existent warnings
    • Incorrect train track maintenance causes the vehicle to “stick” and be unable to move
  • Negligent conductors
  • Trains traveling at unsafe speeds
  • Inadequately maintained equipment

Drivers, pedestrians, and others, can experience catastrophic injuries in a train accident.

Light Rail

Amtrak and the state of Texas are developing a high-speed rail service between Houston and Dallas. The Bayou City also has METRORail, the local light rail service operating three lines around Downtown. About 55,000 people ride daily. Designed for Downtown’s urban layout, these trains are smaller and travel at a lower speed, but can be just as dangerous.

Houston Metro trains have frequent accidents with passenger vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Occasionally, passengers become assault victims. Most injuries are minor, but some accidents can leave a person with severe and debilitating injuries like a car accident.

Accident Victims’ Recourse

Railroad and train accidents are complex, especially since multiple parties may be involved. Because railroad companies do not have the victim’s best interest at heart, a personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claim process, and if necessary, a lawsuit.

Texas allows just two years for injured victims to file a claim for injuries and financial losses. That’s why you must begin your claim immediately after the accident. Otherwise, you could miss thousands in compensation like:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

Our attorneys are ready to help with your railroad and train accident claim.

Houston Railroad and Train Accident Attorney: Begin working with a personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident to protect your interests and preserve your rights. Texas’ statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. Building a case takes time, so it’s important to start your claim immediately.  Contact Paxton Law Firm today by calling (281) 978-2244 or filling out our online contact form. During your free consultation, you can learn more about your legal options.


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