When most people think of train accidents in Illinois and across the world, they conjure up images of train derailments, twisted metal, smoky fires, and train cars lying on their sides. While these types of incidents sometimes do occur (causing massive injuries and fatalities), most train accidents don’t even make news outside of their local area. But that doesn’t mean that passengers escape without injury.
You may not be aware that on average, a dozen train accidents each day are reported in the United States. While some of these incidents do not involve passenger trains, the ones that do can result in injuries even at low speeds. Common causes of these train accidents include:
- Braking too sharply when approaching a station, platform, or railroad crossing
- Accelerating too quickly
- Sliding when trying to stop
- Striking a “bumping post” at the end of a platform
- Hitching sharply when starting to move or stopping
If one of these issues occurs when a passenger train is packed with riders, it’s easy to see how these people can get hurt. Some frequently-reported train accident injuries include:
- Concussions or head injuries from a passenger striking his or her head on a seat or bar
- Bone or rib fractures when being slammed against a pole during a sudden stop or start
- Shoulder injuries when holding tightly to an overhead strap or rail during a sudden stop or start
- Leg, ankle, or knee injuries from stretching or twisting awkwardly when other riders are pushed into a standing passenger
- Bruises, lacerations, or “crushing” injuries when a passenger is pushed against a wall (or the floor if he or she slips and falls)
A great many of these train accidents stem from some type of conductor error. These train operators must follow strict protocols when accelerating, decelerating, stopping, and approaching curves or railroad crossings. Failure to stay within prescribed speeds can lead to accidents and injuries to passengers.
In some cases, mechanical failure can cause a train accident. This situation can occur if train engines, train cars, train doors, tracks, switching equipment, platforms, or other moving parts do not work like they are supposed to.
In either case, the entity or company that operates the train can be held responsible for the injuries to passengers suffered in a train accident. These victims could receive reimbursement for medical costs, lost wages due to work absenteeism, or even monetary damages for pain and suffering through a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been hurt in a train accident, no matter how minor, seek medical attention and contact a qualified train accident attorney.