Railroad Injury Statistics

The railroad industry is an inherently dangerous field of work due to various factors, including heavy cargo, frequent use of heavy machinery, the inability to quickly stop trains, etc. In fact, in the first quarter of 2009, the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis found that nearly 2,500 train accidents occurred, resulting in about 1,800 injuries and/or deaths.

To specifically protect the rights of railroad employees, lawmakers have enacted a distinct law – known as the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) – that entitles them to compensation, should they be:

  • Injured while working
  • Able to prove that their injuries resulted from the negligence or recklessness of an employer, co-worker or equipment manufacturer

In most cases, FELA awards are greater than settlements granted via traditional workers' compensation laws. Consequently, it's crucial that injured railroad workers meet with an experienced FELA attorney to learn more about their legal rights before filing any other claim.

Types of Railroad Accidents

According to the FRAOSA, the most common types of railroad accidents are (in ascending):

  • collisions
  • highway-rail and trespassing incidents (in which interaction between the train and a highway passenger causes an accident at a rail crossing or on the tracks)
  • derailments

Although most train accidents affect cargo carrying railroads, passenger train incidents can be particularly devastating, especially should a derailment occur. In fact, 71 percent of all fatal train accidents occur as a result of train derailment.

Causes of Railroad Injuries

According to railroad injury statistics, the two most common causes of train accidents are track defects and human error. Combined, these elements are responsible for over 63 percent of all railroad accidents.

Examples of human errors that can cause train accidents include:

  • conductor or crew member negligence
  • failure to follow legally mandated safety regulations
  • failure to sound the horn or be properly lit when approaching train crossings
  • inadequate braking
  • improper loading of cargo
  • maintaining unsafe speeds
  • substance abuse

Equipment defects also significantly contribute to railroad wrecks (about 17 percent of the time).

Any railroad worker who is injured while working will most likely be eligible to recover compensation for their losses by filing a FELA claim.

For more information and statistics regarding railroad injuries, contact a FELA railroad injury lawyer.

Learn more about other types of railroad injuries and dangers: