Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, the railroad company may be held liable for damages when a moving train collides with a motor vehicle.
Liability for Train Collisions
Railroads are regulated by federal and state laws, including Interstate Commerce Laws, which oversee safety standards for all types of cargo carriers. Railroad employees are required to follow strict regulations and proper protocol to ensure railway safety. When a train collides with a truck or passenger vehicle, an investigation is launched to determine liability for the accident and related injuries.
There are three important factors taken into account when determining liability for train collisions. 1) Did the train operator make a mistake? 2) Did an error occur during routine maintenance? 3) Was a defective product used to service the train? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, a truck accident lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit against certain parties based on negligent actions. If the victim dies, a truck accident lawyer can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased victim’s family.
Strict federal and state regulations hold railroad companies to high standards for violations such as conductor negligence, mechanical failure, improper train maintenance, and neglected routine train inspections. Train employees must follow safety protocols, including:
- Traveling at a safe speed
- Using signal horns and bells for warnings
- Watching for obstructions on railroad tracks
- Obeying all posted railway signage
- Maintaining all rail cars and railroad tracks
- Monitoring employee sobriety, fatigue, and scheduled hours of service
When a train collision occurs, truck accident lawyers often file lawsuits against multiple parties who share in the liability for the accident.
Railroad Company Owners
Railroad companies are required by state and federal laws to make sure railroad lines operate safely at all times. Company owners may be held liable for injuries due to operator errors, defective rail lines, and lack of train maintenance.
When certain errors are responsible for train accidents and injuries, train operators may be held liable for damages. Common liability errors include lack of operator training, careless operator actions, drunk and/or drugged driving, and fatigued or distracted driving.
Railroad Product Manufacturers
Products and parts used in railroad construction and repairs are critical to safe train operations. If railroad tracks and train components such as wheels, brakes, steering apparatus, and other parts are defective, manufacturers and distributors can be held liable for accidents and injuries.