Houston Train Accident Lawyer
Were you or a loved one involved in a train derailment or other accident in Texas? Houston train accident lawyer Hector Longoria has the experience needed to fight for your rightful compensation. Call our Houston office today for a free consultation.
Houston may be a largely car-dependent city, but there is no denying that it is still a hub for mass transit. In addition to the byways and highways that criss cross Greater Houston, the metro area is also home to an array of railroads that shuttle commuters and vacationers from city to city—and even from state to state. The three lines of the METRORail stretch across Houston’s downtown core, spanning from the Astrodome to Northline and providing service to over 18 million riders each year. As one of the biggest cities in Texas, Houston serves as a midpoint for Amtrak’s rail line between San Antonio and New Orleans. In recent years, interest has skyrocketed in developing a bullet train line to connect Houston and Dallas, if not the entire Texas Triangle. Even though it is at the center of a car-dominant area, Houston has a role as a major destination for train lines both in-state and interstate.
Greater Houston’s residents have to bear in mind that they need to respect the rules of the road and of the rail to stay safe in the Bayou City. Still, train-related accidents are common both in Houston and Texas as a whole, and local personal injury attorneys are more than familiar with train injury cases. If you have recently been injured in an accident involving a train, the guidance of a qualified Houston train accident lawyer will be an asset in your civil suit, and you should not hesitate to seek representation from a Houston train accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
How Often Do Train Accidents Occur in the Houston Area?
Every form of mass transit carries with it a risk of accident, and Houston’s many rail systems, while well maintained and well managed, are not invulnerable. METRORail trains have gained a bit of notoriety since their rollout for their involvement in collisions with other motor vehicles. Because the Metropolitan Transit Authority chose to build the METRORail system as an above-ground light rail, as opposed to as a subway, Metro conductors have to coordinate with passenger and commercial vehicle drivers, and that coordination is not automatic. Many collisions between cars and METRORail trains stem from the cars’ drivers making illegal turns rather than from the conductors’ own doing, but that detail does nothing to change the fact that the accident rate of Houston’s “Wham-Bam Tram” is several times the national average.
At the state level, Texas’s railroads do not fare much better. In the year 2016, Texas ranked first in the United States in the number of accidents occurring at highway–railroad grade crossings, which are intersections between train tracks and roadways. Of the more than 2000 collisions that occurred that year between trains and cars, trucks, or pedestrians, about 11 percent happened within Texas’s expansive borders. Because Texas is continuing to dramatically expand economically and in population, despite the safety measures that train companies incorporate, this startling statistic may increase in the years to come.
Are Collisions with Cars the Only Common Kind of Train Accident?
Pedestrians, passengers, and drivers can sustain train-related injuries in a variety of ways. Of course, crashes between trains and passenger or commercial vehicles frequently result in injuries. Other common sources are slips and falls while boarding or exiting trains, attacks by dangerous people while on board, and—most of all—the everyday risks of working on a train. Train collisions may receive a fair share of attention, but injuries stemming from alternative factors are no less serious. Regardless of the reason behind your injury, a Houston train accident lawyer will be able to determine how to best argue your case.
When a vehicle or a pedestrian fails to clear tracks when a train is approaching, serious injury or death will result. Because of the average train’s size and weight, even if a train is traveling well below the speed limit, it can displace and damage any vehicle in its path. Drivers and passengers in cars or trucks that stall on train tracks can experience a variety of grave injuries, such as whiplash, broken bones, and psychological trauma, in the aftermath of a train accident. Because Texas has the most miles of railroad in the United States, trespassing on train tracks is a widespread issue both in Houston and beyond. Even when a trespasser manages to get out of the way of an oncoming train, injuries can result from falling on gravel, exposure to the high-decibel din that the train produces, or tripping over the rails. Due to the illegality of trespassing, a train accident attorney may have to adopt a different approach to such a personal injury case. However, an attorney could potentially show that injuries suffered when a train impacted a stalled vehicle were not entirely the fault of the vehicle’s driver.
What Other Train Injuries Can Be Covered Under Personal Injury Law?
Slips and falls, a typical occurrence under the personal injury umbrella, can happen on trains or train platforms due to inclement weather, insufficient maintenance, or the actions of another passenger. Though Houston only experiences snow every three or four years, the city’s regular rainfall can create slippery conditions on train tracks, platforms, and stairwells. Slipping on excess water or a slick surface can result in sprains, fractures, or muscle pulls, and a train injury attorney can demonstrate that the unsafe circumstances were the result of negligence. An injured party may have a case against another passenger if that passenger pushed the plaintiff or improperly stowed her or his belongings, causing a trip.
Likewise, a lack of security can allow emotionally disturbed individuals to commit acts of violence against other passengers. These attacks are rare, but they are prone to happen during late-night trips when law enforcement and train personnel are not present. METRORail trains have been the sites of occasional incidents such as beatings and similar physical altercations, and these attacks are not limited to Houston’s light rail system. Survivors of these attacks can pursue legal action against their assailants, and personal injury lawyers can help their clients to receive compensatory damages.
Workers’ compensation, despite the common belief, does not cover the injuries of railroad workers. Instead, railroad workers can fight for the compensation that they deserve under the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA, as long as they file their claims within three years of the accident that led to their injuries. Passengers on trains, however, are not covered by FELA, so they must seek alternative routes in order to obtain compensation.
Experienced Houston train accident lawyer Hector Longoria has worked for years with clients throughout the Houston area to recover financially and medically following a train accident. We would welcome the opportunity to give you legal advice or represent you in your case as you seek compensation.
Call Hector at 713-929-3996 to arrange a free consultation. Let his experience work for you.