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Train Accidents

Train Accident Lawyer

Due to the sheer size, weight and high speed of trains, train accidents often result in massive destruction, with injuries and loss of life for passengers, employees, and the occupants of any other involved vehicle. For example, eight people were killed and dozens more were critically injured when Amtrak Train 188 derailed in Philadelphia in 2015.

While North Central Pennsylvania, especially Williamsport and Renovo, used to be an area of tremendous railroad activity, some of this has diminished. However, many feeder lines and “short” lines are coming back into use, thus increasing the chance of serious train accidents. It is anticipated that because of the Marcellus Shale drilling, there will be much more use of bulk railroad shipping, especially for carloads of crude oil and fluids such as frack water. In recent years, the increased usage of devices that can be distracting to train operators, motorists and pedestrians, such as smart phones, GPS and headphones, has contributed to the potential for serious accidents.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a train accident, your next step should be to consult with an attorney at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters. Our experienced train accident attorneys have extensive experience in a broad range of personal injury cases and know the intricacies of the federal regulations involved. Clients rely on our experience and dedication through all stages of the legal process. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the individual facts of your case and your legal options.

Types and Causes of Train Accidents

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, (FRA) there are approximately 3,000 train accidents in the United States each year. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 2012 statistics show that 803 of these accidents were fatal, causing death to passengers, motorists, individuals walking near railroad tracks, or employees of the railroad. Many accidents involve a derailment, a collision with another train, or with a motor vehicle or pedestrian at a railroad crossing. Train accidents involving collisions between vehicles or pedestrians at train crossings produced a 15 percent increase in fatalities in 2014.

Common causes of railroad accidents include:

  • Mechanical or equipment failure
  • Conductor inexperience or negligence, impairment, distraction, drowsiness, or speeding
  • Improper maintenance of or structural defects in train tracks
  • Failure to provide sufficient training of employees and to ensure safety regulations are followed
  • Failure to inspect equipment regularly and rectify situations such as malfunctioning or absent lights, signals, or gates at crossings
  • Collisions caused when motor vehicles stop on or attempt to unsafely cross train tracks
  • Fire on or near train or tracks
  • Failure to observe the laws to signaling when approaching a crossing, excessive speed and the like

Negligence and Wrongful Death

People who are severely injured or who die in train accidents are rarely to blame, and accidents are often the fault of a negligent train operator, the railroad company, or a faulty product. Many could have been prevented by following proper safety protocol and maintenance. If another person or company is responsible for a crash with fatalities, it may be considered to be a case of wrongful death which may permit a wrongful death or survival action.

Train accidents frequently involve federal regulations. Trains that regularly transport goods and people are considered to be common carriers and thus have a duty to ensure that passengers and cargo safely arrive at their destinations. Train operators have a duty to operate the train in a manner that will keep motorists, pedestrians, or other individuals reasonably safe. Train companies and operators have a duty to comply with FRA federal safety regulations.

If a train company or operator violates any of these duties and causes injury or death, they should be held accountable and liable for their negligence.


Some cases could also fall under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA), which provides certain tort remedies for injured victims employed by the railroads. The law in this field is highly specialized.

Contact an Experienced Train Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a train accident caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, including past, present and future medical and rehabilitative hospital expenses, lost wages past, present and future, pain and suffering and loss of life’s pleasures, and disfigurement. Under all circumstances, your case must be handled correctly and competently or you may never receive the settlement you are entitled to.

The experienced and knowledgeable Pennsylvania train accident lawyer at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters understands complex federal regulations involving train accidents and that cases may involve multiple responsible parties and require in-depth investigations. We know that companies responsible for your accident will do everything possible to minimize payments to injured parties, and we will aggressively fight to get you the best settlement possible.

We offer a free consultation to carefully examine the individual facts in your case and determine the best way to handle it. Do not delay. Contact Rieders Travis online or call our offices to set up your free consultation.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]