Can You File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit If Your Loved One Is Killed In A Train Accident?

Posted on: 9 July 2018

Hundreds of trains travel the rails on a daily basis. Both commuter and freight trains ride the rails, crossing the country at all hours of the day. For the most part, these trips are safe, and everyone gets to their destination with no problems happening. Once in awhile, there is an accident or derailment that might happen that is severe enough to cause injuries and death.

If your loved one was killed in a train accident, is it possible to sue the rail company for wrongful death? Yes, if you can prove that the accident could have been prevented you may win your case. Here are some things a lawyer will look for in proving a wrongful death suit in a train accident.

Was Positive Train Control in Use?

If the train your loved one was riding on when it crashed or derailed did not have its positive train control or PTC operating at the time of the crash, it's possible you have a case to sue for wrongful death. PTC is an anti-crash technology that will slow or stop the train if it detects there is a problem on the tracks or if it detects the train is exceeding speed limits for that portion of the track.

At the moment, there are only a handful of areas around the United States that have PTC operational, but the majority of rail lines are catching up.

Excessive Speed

One of the most common reasons a train will derail is excessive speed. There are portions of tracks where there are speed limits put in place to help prevent derailments due to the train going too fast.

These sections could be in mountainous areas, heading toward tunnels, or in cities where there are many sharp turns. A train can't go through certain areas at a high speed, and therefore, could derail if the engineer takes it through a high-risk area at too high of a speed.

If this was found to be the case, you definitely have a potential lawsuit you can file with the rail company.

Track Switch in The Wrong Position

Trains are changed onto different tracks on a regular basis. This could be because there are other trains on the track that the train was on, so it needs to be moved over to a neighboring track, or perhaps there is work being done on one track. These switches are usually operated remotely by dispatchers, and sometimes they are done on-site by maintenance workers manually.

If the switch was left in the wrong position and the train your loved one was riding in either crashed into another train or derailed due to this switch, you may have a potential lawsuit.

Train Collision

While it doesn't happen very often at all, trains do collide on occasion. This is usually due to operator error, excessive speed, or dispatch not ensuring enough distance between the trains on the rails. It could also have occurred because the trains were not moved to neighboring tracks and left heading straight toward each other.

If this is the case, you have a lawsuit you could win. For more information, consult with a wrongful death attorney such as one found through


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