Texas has a lot of railroad track running through the state and a lot of railroads running trains over those tracks. That means several things, notably:
- There are many railroad workers in the state
- The state has many railroad crossings
- The large number of crossings produces many opportunities for train-vehicle and train-pedestrian injuries
Trains are obviously massive objects, and often travel at very high speeds. Many accidents will cause the death of someone, and even nonfatal accidents can produce massive, life-altering injuries. The railroads themselves have by far the most control over matters affecting safety. If you or someone you love has been injured or even killed as the result of a railroad accident, contact our seasoned Houston railroad accident attorneys.
Types of Railroad Accidents
The railroad business is varied and complicated enough that a very large number of different types of accidents can occur:
- On-the-job injuries to railroad workers, ranging from the ordinary slip-and-fall injury to being crushed by a train or heavy equipment
- Train collisions, injuring passengers, train workers, and possibly third parties near the scene
- Train derailments, which may injure the same people as a collision (toxic spills may also result, endangering any number of people who live in the area of the spill)
- Train-vehicle collisions, typically at a crossing, which may injure train workers, passengers, vehicle occupants and third parties near the scene
- Train-pedestrian collisions, which are almost always deadly to the pedestrian but not people on the train (unless the train driver takes drastic action to stop the train, causing a derailment)
Railroad Work Injuries and FELA
For railroad workers injured on the job, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) provides the rules for recovery from the railroad. FELA is different from both ordinary negligence claims and workers’ compensation. The “burden of proof” that FELA imposes on an injured railroad worker is not as high as in an ordinary negligence case. And unlike workers compensation laws, FELA does require some showing that the railroad was at fault. In most FELA cases, the injured worker establishes the railroad violated a safety standard and the violation contributed to the worker’s injury.
FELA also has unique rules for notice and the way that injured worker claims proceed.
Having a Houston railroad accident lawyer with real experience specific to FELA claims is the injured worker’s best protection against doing something that will allow the railroad to escape liability.
A successful FELA claim allows the injured worker to recover past damages, as well as future damages, for lost wages, medical treatment and any pain and suffering.
Railroad injuries not governed by FELA are mostly subject to the ordinary rules of negligence. Since railroads are heavily regulated, with many safety mandates imposed by the government. As with FELA claims, an experienced Houston railroad injury lawyer can often establish that the railroad was negligent by showing that it violated a safety regulation.
That showing can be technical and certainly calls for an in-depth understanding of the safety regulations, including the letter of the law and what the law intended to accomplish.
Help When You Need It
Making sure that those who cause railroad-related injuries compensate the victims is a complex and technical job best left to professionals who have experience in that task. The 35 years experience among the Houston railroad accident lawyers at the firm of Lapeze & Johns, LLPC, means that we know what to expect from the railroads, the insurance companies and others who caused serious injuries to you and/or your loved ones. These organizations are in no hurry to pay for the damages they cause, but we successfully settle or litigate 95 percent of our cases in Houston and throughout the Gulf Coast. We know the law, the defenses likely to be raised, and how to overcome them.
Call our Houston personal injury attorneys as soon as possible, and get the recovery process started: Start by telling us your story. We know the questions to ask to flesh out the facts and identify the next steps you’ll need to take. There’s no fee for the conversation, and if circumstances require it, we can come to you for the talk.