Train Accident Lawsuits, Settlements and Verdicts
An estimated 2,500 people suffer personal injuries and approximately 600 more are killed as a result of train accidents each year in the United States. Trains and railways are an important component of the American transit system, particularly in Washington state as there has been a tremendous amount of growth in train and railway ridership in the Northwest throughout the past decade or so.
Railroad and Train Accidents in Washington State
Trains are a popular mode of transportation for many residents of Washington state, and even more so in the western region where Amtrak and Sound Transit run a number of daily routes for commuters and long-distance travelers alike. The various types of train and railroad systems that exist in Washington state include:
- Passenger Trains: Passenger trains carry thousands of passengers – both commuters and long-distance travelers – each day throughout Washington state. There is a 90 mph speed limit for passenger trains, which include the Amtrak Cascades, Coastal Starlight, and Empire Builder trains.
- Monorail: The Seattle Monorail was originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair and is now owned by the City of Seattle and operated by Seattle Monorail Services. Approximately two million passengers ride the Seattle Monorail for transportation throughout the city each year.
- Sounder Train: The Sounder is a commuter train that has one route running from Lakewood-Seattle and another route that runs from Everett-Seattle. Both routes have multiple stops along the way and transport hundreds of passengers every day.
- Freight Trains: There are a number of freight companies that utilize railroads in Washington for transporting goods and other cargo. These trains carry massive payloads and travel at speeds of up to 80 mph, which results in a one-mile stopping distance that can lead to devastating accidents.
Your Questions Answered, Your Legal Options Explained
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident our legal staff is here to help you better understand your legal rights so you can start your journey to justice. Call Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 or use the contact form on this page to schedule a free consultation.
Railway Employees Injured on the Job
Railroad employees have been protected by the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) since it was enacted in 1908. FELA is similar to other employee protection acts – such as the Jones Act of 1920 – in the sense that it acknowledges the inherent dangers that all railroad workers face throughout the course of their employment. Since state workers’ compensation laws do not protect railroad employees, FELA is even more significant and beneficial in the event of an accident.
To prove a claim under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, the claimant must establish the following:
- The claimant’s injuries occurred as a result of working within the scope of his or her employment with the railway company.
- The purpose of the claimant's employment was to further the business interests of the railroad company.
- The claimant’s injury occurred as a result of negligence on the part of the railroad company.
Non-Railroad Employees Injured in Train Accidents
It is estimated that there is a train collision or train derailment every 90 minutes in the United States. In 2011, there were a total of 106 train accidents involving passenger trains alone. These accidents can leave passengers with minor to serious injuries, and many railroad crossings lack adequate signage that is required by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to properly warn citizens.
There are a number of ways that non-railroad employees can be injured as a result of negligence on the part of a railroad or train company. Some examples of train accidents and collisions include, but are not limited to: