- Human error
- Equipment failure
- Track defects
- Signal malfunctions
- Miscellaneous factors
Statistically, human error is the greatest contributing factor to all accidents. This can be anything from distracted train operation to lack of proper training or maintenance. The second leading cause is track defects. Train accidents can take place while trains are in motion, which typically results in the serious and fatal accidents. Accidents can also take place in rail yards while maintenance is being performed on trains. Also not uncommon is for railway workers to develop occupational diseases from exposure.
We Have a Reputation as Serious Trial Lawyers
FELA stands for the Federal Employers Liability Act. This federal law was established in 1908 and is explained in full detail under 45 U.S.C. § 51 et seq. The Industrial Revolution in the U.S. affected every area of industry, with the railroad industry being no exception. Because of this rapid expansion, there was also an increase in accidents. There were scarcely any regulations for this occupation until President Harrison addressed Congress in 1889 by comparing the occupation of a rail worker to that of a soldier. Under FELA, a worker can sue an employer for negligence.
This means that railroad workers who are injured or become ill in conjunction with performing their job duties may bring lawsuits against a rail line to seek compensation for their damages.
Since federal regulations were imposed on this industry, there has been a significant decrease in the amount of accidents per year. Even so, FELA laws are only effective if they are enforced. Those who would like to take hold of their FELA rights should contact Arnold & Itkin as we are intensely familiar with this legislation and other legal matters as they relate to the train industry.
Crossties are rectangular supports that hold the rails up and keep them level. Defective crossties could be disastrous, leading to total derailment and dozens of injured passengers, motorists, and bystanders.
Switches are the junction at which trains can navigate from one track to another. Poor switches means trains may end up colliding into one another on the same track--or more commonly, derailing off of a set of badly aligned switches.
Trains are designed to travel at a specific speed. Above that speed, the train's ability to stay on the rails and remain stable becomes weakened at best. Recent train accidents have been caused by trains traveling up to 50% faster than their intended design--causing terrible injuries and fatalities in the name of keeping on a schedule.
Failure to Apply Brakes
Conductors require a great deal of space and time to brake effectively. Their failure to remain alert and cognizant of the path ahead could result in severe and lasting injuries for both employees and passengers.
As eluded to earlier, there are also many occupational illnesses that these workers are prone to developing because of the number of different toxic chemicals and substances that are handled in rail yards. One material that was formerly commonly used in the industry was asbestos, which is a silicate material that was officially banned in 1989 because of the serious health risks it posed. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that can develop. H
AZMAT (Hazardous Materials) in the railroad industry are listed as toxic inhalation hazards. Some of these materials include lead, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel fuel, and benzene. Benzene is a particularly dangerous substance. It is listed as a hazardous air pollutant by the federal government. Those who were over-exposed to materials such as this run the risk of developing certain types of cancer, breathing problems, and a weak immune system.
Arnold & Itkin represented a pregnant woman who experienced stomach pain and called Acadian Ambulances. The driver of the ambulance drove the ambulance into the back of a sugar cane truck causing the plaintiff's spine to be severed at T4 and for her to sustain serious brain injuries. We succeeded in obtaining a $117 million verdict for the mother, as well as her two daughters.
Attorneys from Arnold & Itkin LLP secured a unanimous jury verdict on behalf of our client who had suffered from the usage of Risperdal.
Arnold & Itkin has achieved a record settlement for a worker who was injured in a severe oilfield accident less than 2 years after the incident. His accident was a result of negligence from multiple parties--all of whom settled with our client only a week before trial. We are thrilled that our client will receive the medical care and future security he deserves.
Arnold & Itkin represented a construction superintendent who required a leg amputation after a crane collapse. At the time of the collapse, our client had been standing behind a safety fence 100 feet away when a fallen piece of crane equipment pinned him down. Our firm got him the largest award ever given in a case involving loss of limb, including $8.5 million in punitive damages.
Our client was a Houston-based investor who was cut out of a deal to acquire Honsador Lumber Corporation, one of Hawaii’s largest lumber suppliers. The jury found Key Principal Partners LLC and its parent Key Corporation guilty of breaching their fiduciary duties, interfering with Foreman's efforts to acquire the Honsador Lumber Corporation, and violating Hawaii's unfair competition statute. We won a massive $41 million verdict for the wrongdoing committed against our client.