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Railroad Accident Lawyer Says: Buckle Your Seatbelts
By Anna Henningsgaard

Massive train crashes seem the dramatic stuff of movies and novels, billowing steam engines destined for disaster, fixed irreversibly on track to collide. Indeed, in the 19th century train companies used head-on train collisions as a publicity stunt. The Crush Crash in Waco, Texas drew so many observers that Waco became, for one night, the second largest city in the state. Even this staged event ended in disaster, however, when a boiler burst and the flying debris killed two in the crowd. Unfortunately, this less-than-dramatic conclusion represents the reality of train wrecks, and these days that reality is represented in lawsuits as soon as the smoke clears.

Perhaps modern day railroads do not encounter anything so catastrophic as the rerouted steam locomotive that caused a mountain to collapse in Ayn Randís Atlas Shrugged, but train crashes are still a major problem in the United States. Train crashes injure more than 500 people every year, though deaths remain relatively rare. Aside from catastrophic collisions, railroad deaths usually occur at crossings, where the trainís course crosses the path of car traffic. The chances of dying in a car-train crash are ten times more likely than dying in a regular car collision.

Settlements with railroad companies for crashes can amount in the millions of dollars, but this just reflects the severity of injuries incurred in such accidents. Trains are currently set up in compartments to reduce the distance people would fly in the event of a major collision. However, safety experts with the Federal Railroad Association have conducted full-scale crashes and found that the dummies in such seats were flung up and over the backs of the seat compartments, some striking luggage racks. Seatbelts would prevent this sort of injury, but they are not a standard installment of most trains.

At least half of all the railroad tank cars on the tracks today were built before 1989 when new regulations required them to be reinforced with steel. About 30,000 of these tankers have not been rebuilt at all, and no government agency forces the companies that own these tank cars to spend money to bring them up to safety standards. This results in another great railroad danger, as many of these tankers carry dangerous chemicals. Just this past January, nine people died and an entire geographic region had to be evacuated from homes, businesses, and schools in South Carolina when a train collision caused a tanker to leak chlorine gas.

Train wrecks are clearly not an entertaining matter. Because of the structure of the tracks and signals, train collisions are nearly always due to negligence, either human error or faulty equipment. As such, any injuries incurred on a railroad are entitled to compensation and should be discussed with a lawyer right away.

If you have more questions, contact a railroad accident lawyer or read about railroad collisions at http://www.hugesettlements.com.

If you use this article, please include these links.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

 

 

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