Articles Posted in Railroad Accidents

railroad-accidents.jpgA highway-rail accident took the life of a Marion County, SC, man on Saturday, July 13. Police investigators say the 66-year-old man drove around the deployed train track caution gates and was struck by the oncoming train.

With more than 212,000 highway-rail grade crossings in the country, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, it’s clear that drivers are going to be confronted with delays caused by passing trains. And some drivers are going to ignore the warning systems and try to beat the train across the tracks.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis reports that in 2012, there were 1,960 highway-rail collisions, resulting in 271 deaths and 930 injuries. And nearly 50 percent of the vehicle/train collisions occurred at crossings with active warning devices such as gates, lights or bells.

As in the recent Marion County accident, which took place around 6:15 p.m., 64 percent of all collisions occur during daylight hours. Experts say that because trains are large objects, drivers underestimate their speed, basing their judgment on their more common experience of encountering automobiles. In addition, people know that signals are activated in advance – sometimes far in advance – and so they don’t always believe that the train’s appearance is imminent.

It’s not a chance worth taking. It can take a train a full mile or more to brake – so a motorist certainly can’t depend on the train’s taking evasive action. A typical train weighs 3,200 tons. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that a motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.

In some cases, highway-rail accidents are caused by faulty signaling equipment or human error on the part of a railroad employee, and a wrongful death claim is an appropriate action by the surviving family members. Railroad crossing accidents tragically impact the lives of thousands of people each year. If your life has been affected by the loss of a loved one in a railroad accident, the South Carolina personal injury attorneys of the Louthian Law Firm can assist. When life goes wrong, we fight for what is right. Call our toll-free number (888-662-2897) or our local Columbia, SC, number (803-454-1200) for a free consultation.

When a Norfolk Southern train wreck caused a toxic chlorine spill in the mill town of Graniteville, the Avondale textile company’s flagship canvas plant had to be closed for eight days for safety reasons. The company closed its doors for good in May 2006 after experts determined it would have cost more than the business was worth to clean the buildings and replace the machinery.

Now the textile company wants the railroad to pay $420 million in damages.

Attorneys for Norfolk Southern said Avondale had already seen the writing on the wall in the failing American textile industry when the crash occurred. The attorneys acknowledge that the railroad is to blame for the crash, but a payout of $110 million is more in line with the value of Avondale Mills.

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A drop down safety gate and flashing signals are being added to a Graniteville, South Carolina crossing where five people died in a car-train collision 3 years earlier. The tracks themselves are also being moved closer to the Graniteville canal to provide further safety and make room for the changes.

In November 2004, a freight train slammed into a car carrying five employees of nearby Avondale Mills. A few months later, another South Carolina railroad accident crash a little south of the same crossing involving railcars released toxic chlorine gas into the air, killing nine people. The move of the rails and installation of the new safety equipment will cost $1.5 million.

Train collisions and railway accidents are among the most violent and dangerous kinds of wrecks that one can be involved in. While the most common type of train accident is an accident at a place where the tracks meet a street, trains may also derail, collide with one another or spill their cargo, some of which is hazardous. Railway accidents often take place at high speeds, exposing victims to the risk of a serious injury from being thrown violently around or out of the train. Jagged or broken glass and metal, thousands of pounds of force or sudden cargo spills are just a few of the many hazards associated with a train accident.

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