Central Florida’s Marion County was the scene of the latest Florida train wreck to make national news. Two trains, one carrying coal and the other phosphate rock collided on Wednesday, Nov. 16, derailing both and sending twenty or more train cars tumbling. Both crew members on one of the trains were injured and one of the locomotives spilled diesel fuel in the area, according to a news release from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
CSX Corp., the owner of both trains, dispatched environmental experts to the area.
The aftermath of the central Florida train wreck could have been much worse had the cargo been volatile or the scene been in a densely populated area.
Trains carrying caustic, combustible and explosive cargo through populated areas present a great risk to the public. In 2013 a runaway tanker train hauling crude oil crashed and exploded in Lac Megantic, Quebec, near the border of Maine. 47 lives were lost in that train wreck. Several other railroad accidents have occurred in the U.S in recent years involving crude oil, initiating new safety legislation. Many of the fiery crashes and oil spills that have taken place were the result of faulty tanker cars.
Precision train switching is critical in preventing train collisions. Engineers must be aware of and obey signals and speed limits and remain alert always. In a recent fatal train wreck, where an NJ Transit commuter train crashed into the station in Hoboken NJ, it is suspected that the operator fell asleep at the controls and failed to slow down. He was reported to suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea. Excessive speed and neglecting signals are the two leading causes of train derailments and collisions.
More common Florida train wrecks involve railroad crossings when a car. truck. bus or pedestrian is involved. Lone pedestrians walking along tracks are also frequent railroad accident victims. Train crossing accidents are most often the fault of the motor vehicle operator as they drive around gates, ignore signals or become stuck on the tracks.
Studies have shown that railroad accidents also occur as the result of the following:
- Train mechanical failure
- Switching equipment failure or malfunction
- Faulty crossing gates or warning lights or the lack of gates or warning lights
- Unsafe design of railway or train equipment
- Manufacturing defects in train or railway equipment
- Railway malfunctions or obstructions
- Negligence by the train operator
- Negligence by a railroad worker
Compensation from the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA)
Railroad Workers are covered by the FELA which works on a federal level to protect and provide compensation for those who are injured on the job. Any railroad worker injured on the job should retain an experienced FELA attorney. If a worker can prove that his or her injury was due to the negligence of the railroad, compensation can be many times greater than a comparable worker’s compensation claim.
Retaining a Florida Train Wreck Attorney
A railroad accident attorney with experience in railroad liability should be retained by anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a railroad accident. Railroads are regarded as common carriers and are governed by strict state and federal laws. Even the slightest degree of negligence can make them liable due to the high threat to public safety. Railroad accidents are highly complex and require a lawyer with expertise in this area.
The window to file a case is limited by the statute of limitations. In the case of government operated railroads that window narrows. The railroad accident attorney must move quickly to file within the proper time frame.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has the experienced team to deal with even the most complex Florida train wreck cases. We will fight to recover the maximum award possible for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Call today at 727-451-6900 to arrange a free consultation with a skilled railroad accident attorney. Do not wait as the time to file your case is limited.