At first glance, train accidents can appear relatively straightforward. After all, a train is on rails and going in one direction – how complicated can things get? But there are a wide range of potential causes of train accidents, some of the more common reasons include:
- Mechanical failure
- Poorly marked crossings
- Heavy cargo
- Operational error
- Ill-maintained tracks
It’s not unheard of that the accident is caused by a combination of the above examples. Poorly taken care of railroad tracks, for example, combined with overloaded or otherwise extremely heavy cargo could lead to a serious derailment.
Who May Be Held Responsible for a Train Accident?
It’s the responsibility of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate train accidents and determine the accident cause as well as issue safety recommendations to ensure the prevention of accidents in the future. Their investigation may result in several possible outcomes, as it pertains to liable parties.
Parties that may be considered responsible in a train accident case may include the company that owns the tracks, the track manufacturer, the train company itself, the operator of the motor vehicle (in the case of a motor vehicle collision with the train), or even the manufacturer of the train’s parts.