How Do MA Car-Train Crashes Happen?
There’s a vast network of commercial and municipal trains across the nation. As the state’s official mass transit system, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) runs the subway system of Boston and several commuter rail lines to the city. Passenger trains run by MBTA and Amtrak carry millions of people across Massachusetts each year, while freight trains pass through many of these same cities.
Where MA Train Accidents Likely Occur
- At crossings. The intersection of multiple vehicles always increases the risk of accidents, and railroad crossings are no different. Cars proceeding across the tracks may be struck on the side, causing devastation to the car’s occupants even at low speeds.
- On the tracks. While trespassing on train tracks is strictly prohibited, family members of pedestrians struck and killed by a train may seek a wrongful death lawsuit if the operator could have done more to prevent the accident.
- Near the line. Derailments are some of the deadliest train accidents since the train cannot be controlled once it leaves the track. Anything the engine hits may be crushed under its size and weight, potentially killing passengers on the train and people in its path.
Liability in a Collision Between a Car and Train in Massachusetts
Liability in a car-train accident often falls on multiple parties. A full investigation is vital to determine the exact cause of the crash and identify all the at-fault parties.
Potential Liable Parties
- Operating crews. Conductors, engineers, drivers, and switchmen are all capable of making mistakes. They can cause accidents due to distraction, fatigue, or lack of training. Employee negligence can also include speeding, failing to use lights or signals, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or leaving uncoupled rail cars on an active track.
- Carriers. Railroad companies such as Amtrak and CSX must maintain and remove known hazards from the rails. This includes construction equipment, tree trunks, snowdrifts, and debris that could affect safe passage at crossings. They can also be liable for malfunctioning signals and gates, defective warning lights or sirens, or broken rails that could cause a derailment.
- MBTA. Some MBTA trains have been in service for over a decade, increasing the risk of crashes due to aging parts or damaged mechanical systems. MBTA tracks run parallel to the road in some areas, posing a hazard to pedestrians and drivers using the street. The statute of limitations on suing the MBTA is only two years, as opposed to the standard three years to bring a car accident claim.
- Parts manufacturers. Railroad and industrial machinery suppliers may be held responsible if a malfunctioning part or component, such as defective brake or communication equipment, causes an injury.
Let a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer Advise You
Due to the damage caused in train-car crash cases, a victim may suffer medical expenses, disability, lost income, and future losses in the millions of dollars. Victims may need to name multiple defendants in the lawsuit to obtain a settlement that will cover those losses.
Train companies are protected by teams of corporate attorneys and insurance agents who make a living by paying out as little as possible in these types of claims. They will do everything possible to escape liability for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost quality of life. We can gather the evidence you need to prove your case and fight to get you the financial compensation you deserve.
If you have been hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault, the injury attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP are here to help. Please contact us, or call 508-879-3500 to schedule a free case evaluation.