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Train Accidents

The railroad was revolutionary when it was introduced to Iowa. So much so that even now Iowa residents, freight car companies, and workers utilize the trains for either commercial reasons or travel daily. While trains are imperative to Iowa’s economy and transportation, these heavy machines can be dangerous. A derailment, crossing accident, or any other collision with a train could be deadly and result in lifelong injuries or even wrongful death.

The Federal Transit Administration states there are approximately 3,000 train crashes a year with an estimated 1,000 deaths related to these accidents. Too often these incidents are due to acts of sheer negligence on part of the rail company including doing nothing to repair deteriorating tracks, leaving equipment on the railroad, and overworking engineers to the point they’re too fatigued to operate the train safely.

Railroad companies who don’t take safety precautions can cause devastating consequences for their passengers, crew, and in some cases innocent bystanders. If you were injured due to a train accident or collision, it’s best to contact a personal injury attorney to assess the situation.

Des Moines Train Accident Lawyer | Railroad Injury, Iowa

You shouldn’t have to worry about your safety while on a train or working for a railroad company. Contact an experienced Iowa train accident lawyer today with Gregory Landry at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Attorney Landry has dedicated decades of his practice to helping injured victims get the compensation they deserve for their suffering. He will work tirelessly to ensure you can recover from this accident and move on to a better and brighter future.

Call our offices at (515) 279-9700 today to set up your first consultation. Our offices are located in West Des Moines, but we accept clients in other communities as well including the greater Des Moines, Polk County, and Dallas County area such as Alleman, Pleasant Hill and Ankeny.

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Railway Accident Records

It’s an unfortunate reality that train accidents are more common than many people think. These accidents can be caused by a multitude of factors including weather, improper training, poor railroad maintenance, or issues with the train car itself. Listed below are some statistics collected from the Federal Transit Administration.

  • Currently, there are 600 rail stations in the US and thousands of miles of track
  • Approximately 3,000 train accidents occur each year
  • Out of those crashes, an estimated 1,000 people die as a result of their injuries
  • A train derailment or collision occurs every 90 minutes
  • Ever 14 days a toxic spill of hazardous materials occurs
  • Over 50 % of accidents occur at unprotected railway crossings

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Recent Train Accidents in USA

  • Train Derailment Ends in Hazardous Chemical Spill – On October 29th, 2021, a train derailment occurred near Carlisle, Iowa. That day 20 rail cars spilled a mix of lumber, salt, corn syrup and polyethylene pellets due to the derailment. The pellets fell into the Middle River and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources sent a hazmat crew to clean up debris.
  • Train Hits Garbage Truck in Moore County – A driver of a garbage truck was announced to be in serious condition after being hit by an Amtrak train on October 27th, 2021. The driver was ejected from the truck once he was hit and the impact caused him to sustain life changing injuries.
  • Two People Killed in Train Accident – On September 26th, 2021, two people were killed after a train crashed into their car. The accident occurred at a private railroad crossing by a Union Pacific train at around 4:15 P.M.

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Common Causes for Train Accidents

Railroad accidents such as derailments or railroad crossing accidents happen due to various reasons. In most cases, negligence plays at least a part in the accident because the railroad company failed to maintain the train, railroad, or adequately educate their staff.

Listed below are some common reasons why a railroad accident may occur.

  • Issues with crossing signals
  • Brake issues
  • Train operator or engineer is too fatigued
  • Negligence by the train operator or engineer
  • Equipment being left behind on train tracks
  • Defective railroad tracks
  • Improperly secured loads
  • Excessive speeding
  • Mechanical failure

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Representing FELA Railroad Workers

Railroad workers are incredibly important for society as they ensure the tracks/trains have been properly maintained. However, the job is incredibly tough, taxing, and in some cases dangerous. Sudden traumatic injury, wear-and-tear injuries, and general health issues are not uncommon if you’re a railroad worker. Thankfully, railroad workers are covered thanks to the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).

The Act allows railroad workers who have been injured while working to sue their employer for damages. These claims can include pain and suffering, which is a type of non-economic damage that is usually not allowed in a worker’s compensation case. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. That is why we highly encourage you to reach out to McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. if you’ve been injured on the job at a railroad company.

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What Can I Recover in a Train Accident Lawsuit?

Injuries stemming from a train accident tend to be devastating due to the sheer size of the vessel. Often victims suffer from broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, disfigurement, severe burns, spinal injuries, and extensive psychological damage. In order to recover from these losses, the state of Iowa allows injured plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against the railroad company whose negligence caused their injury.

If the plaintiff is successful with their lawsuit, they may recover the following damages:

  • Current medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

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Additional Resources

Iowa DOT | Rail Transportation – Visit the official website of the Iowa Department of Transportation to learn more about railroads in the state. Look at the map for passenger and freight railroads in Iowa as well as the safety precautions all train operators/workers must take.

Railroads | Iowa Pathways PBS – Visit the official website for Iowa’s Statewide Public Broadcasting Network (PBS) to read their page about railroads. Access the site to learn the history of railroads in Iowa, how they came to be, and their potential future.

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Railroad Accident Lawyer, Des Moines Iowa

Injuries originating from a train accident could disrupt your life forever. If you or a loved one have suffered from a train accident in Iowa, call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. You have limited time to file a train accident claim, so it’s important you act quickly. Experienced Iowa railroad accident injury lawyer Gregory Landry can walk you through the process and litigate on your behalf if necessary. Set up your first consultation today at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. by calling our office at (515) 279-9700.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can be found in West Des Moines, but we accept clients throughout the greater Des Moines, Dallas County and Polk County area in Iowa.

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