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Who is Liable for a Train Accident in Maryland?

While far less common than auto accidents, train accidents do occur. When they do, there are almost always injuries and, in some cases, fatalities involved. So, what happens if you get into a train accident? Every situation is different, but train accidents can lead to serious legal claims, and therefore should be handled by experienced Maryland personal injury attorneys. In some cases, there may be defects involved that require careful research to ensure that all parties are named in the subsequent lawsuit.

Responsible Parties and Common Carriers

Train accidents are often caused by a variety of factors and may involve many parties. Determining the cause of an accident and apportioning fault can be extremely difficult in some cases. Train accidents can encompass more than just personal injury; they may involve product liability and contract law.

Common carriers are companies that transport people or goods for a fee. Every state has some version of a common carrier law that discusses their liability during an accident. While they cannot guarantee that an accident will never occur, they still owe a duty to passengers.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) primarily regulates the safety and accident laws. According to their statistics, Maryland had 1,521 train accidents between 2008 and 2017. In those accidents, 108 people died and 1,122 were injured.

Types of Train Accidents

There are a number of ways people can be injured during a train accident. Two of the most common causes of railroad injuries involve electrical or mechanical failures. Other reasons may have to do with railway obstructions, maintenance failures, track problems, or even human error. Unfortunately, conductor error is a real concern, especially as some train conductors are overworked and therefore not nearly as alert as they should be on the job.

Classes of Injuries

There are several different categories under which people who are involved in train accidents fall. These are:

Bystanders: Someone who is not on the train when an accident occurs. This may involve someone standing by an unprotected crossing, or a crossing that lacks lights or some other indicator that a train is approaching. There are also incidents in which bystanders have been injured during a train derailment or by spilled cargo.

Passengers: If you are riding on a train when it derails or hits a vehicle, there is a good chance for injury or death. Passengers may also be injured when they are embarking or disembarking the train.

Railroad Workers: Just as bystanders and passengers can be injured during a train accident, so can workers. Railroad injuries for workers extend far beyond just accidents. The FELA, or Federal Employers’ Liability Act, extends protections to workers who are injured on the job in some cases. For railroads that engage in interstate commerce, the FELA mandates that employers must provide adequate training, provide a safe work environment, and more.

Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in a train accident, you need a qualified and skilled Maryland personal injury attorney who has experience in the convoluted nature of these cases. The Law Office of Robert R. Castro has years of experience handling complex litigation matters. Contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation.

This article has been provided by Law office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced lawyer at (301) 870-1200.