With trains connecting much of upstate New York, it wouldn't be uncommon for many people in Schenectady to travel by train on occasion. Much like with planes, when a New Yorker travels by train, he or she is turning over control of his or her safety to the train operator and the other employees who work with the railroad. If they are negligent, they may be found liable for any accidents they may cause.
A recent report by the National Transportation Safety Board has found that two of the train accidents that happened last year were caused by railroad employees violating the established safety procedures. As more information emerges about these accidents, the individuals who were hurt or killed in the accidents may choose to file personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against the railroads.
And, it is not just train passengers who can be injured. Sometimes, motorists are also injured or killed when a conductor, railroad employee or a train operator fails to follow the necessary safety precautions. In one of the accidents last year, someone had deactivated the warning lights and gate arms at a railroad crossing, making a woman believe it was safe to cross the tracks. Unfortunately, a train was coming and her car was hit. She died in the accident.
One of the other accidents this past year was caused by someone reversing one of the track switches. This put a train on the wrong track, causing it to derail and injuring 14. Like with the family of the woman who died while trying to cross the railroad tracks, these injured passengers may be able to seek compensation for the failure of the railroad employees to keep them safe.
Source: Michigan Public Radio, "NTSB issues recommendations after railroad accidents in Michigan and Illinois," March 9, 2013
Our New York train and railroad accidents website has more information on what to do if you are injured by a train operator's negligence. Stop by to find out more.