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Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm offers expertise in handling railroad and train accident cases across the country. We represent victims and the families of those injured or killed in railroad accidents in over thirty jurisdictions. With a strong belief that focusing attention on public safety and engineering solutions to railroad dangers will help not only victims and their families, but make railroads safer for the general public and for railroad workers.

Railroad Injury Lawyers

Forcing railroads to improve safety or face consequences is a highly personal mission for our lead railroad attorney, Joe Sayler, as he lost a brother in a railroad accident.

A dedicated group of Bolt Hoffer Boyd attorneys exclusively handle railroad cases, unlike most law firms advertising this service. In fact, because of our extensive resources and highly specialized experience, many firms refer railroad cases to us.

Most railroad and train accidents, many of them catastrophic, could be prevented if railroads would implement basic safety systems and measures. Thousands of railroad accidents, injuries, and deaths occur every year. These accidents include pedestrian train accidents, railroad crossings accidents, railroad worker injuries under FELA, derailments, train passenger injuries, and many others.

Pedestrian and Passenger Train Accidents

The National Transportation Safety Bureau has reported that a person or vehicle is hit by a train every 2 hours in the United States. Since 1997, there have been more than 7,200 pedestrians killed and another 6,400 injured by trains in the US. Every year about 500 people are killed. In Minnesota in 2018, most crashes involving a train and a motor vehicle happened in rural areas. 22 of the 51 total crashes happened in townships in rural areas, as did the only two fatal crashes. Still, the chances are you will never be hit by a train. But what if you or someone you love is struck by a train, what would you do?

Minnesota has over 4,000 railroad crossings. Perhaps you cross one daily or at least occasionally. Even if you drove blindfolded when crossing a railroad track, the “chances” of being hit by a train are still rare. However, on average, more people are killed every year in highway-rail crashes than in airline crashes. While driving blindfolded is not one of the contributing factors to highway-rail collisions, some that are include:

All these contributing factors to highway-rail collision can be listed as a form of negligence. If the car driver fails to stop at a flashing red light at a train crossing, the driver is negligent. If the conductor is going too fast, the conductor is negligent. If the signals malfunction, someone is probably negligent, either with maintaining the equipment or its manufacture.

Railroad No Trespassing

Ways to Stay Safe When Approaching and Crossing Railroad Tracks

You do not have to be negligent to be in a collision. You may be in the right. But there is such a thing as being dead right. A person in a car is 20 times more likely to die in a collision with a train than with another car — whether they were negligent or not. The point is not to be right. It is to be vigilant, especially at railroad warning signs and signals.

Flashing red lights at railroad crossings indicate that either a train is on the tracks or is approaching. You should stop. In Minnesota, you must stop at the flashing red light. If a train is visible, even if there is no flashing red light, you must stop and stay stopped until the train has passed. Trains always have the right-of-way.

Flashing red lights may also be accompanied by other types of warning devices, such as gates that should prevent traffic from crossing the tracks. You may see other motorists go around these gates, but it is illegal to go around crossing gates.

If you are traveling behind a school bus or commercial bus be aware that they must stop at all railroad crossings regardless of whether they are carrying passengers or not. Also, trucks carrying hazardous materials must stop at all gate crossings, too.

Finally, it is unlawful to be on the private property used in railroad operation. This includes the tracks, of course. But it also includes the property alongside the tracks and any buildings the railroad owns adjacent to the tracks. In 2011, 6 people in Minnesota were killed while trespassing on railroad right-of-way property.

It is considered trespassing to walk on or next to railroad tracks. Typically, the right-of-way owned by the railroad is 50 feet from the centerline of the tracks.

Some quick pointers to take-away from these safety reminders are the following:

Additionally, if your car ever stalls on a railroad track, stay calm. If you were crossing when you were supposed to, a train is probably not coming.

To ensure your safety and that of any passengers, do the following:

On the phone, be clear about the situation, that your car is stalled on the tracks of a railroad crossing and be as precise as you can be about the location.

After a Train Accident

If you are involved in a collision with a train, you will probably feel out-of-control, scared, and unsure what to do next.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

Being Injured Because of Someone's Negligence

Whether a person is a pedestrian hit by a train or a driver or passenger in a car struck by a train, or a worker for the railroad, the injuries that the person suffers because of the incident are called personal injuries. Personal injuries may include any physical or mental injury suffered because of the incident, as well as pain and suffering.

Some personal injuries are:

Railroad Negligence

Compensation For Injured Railroad Workers

When it comes to workers’ compensation, railroad workers fall under a unique class that isn’t covered by state guidelines. Rather, they are considered federal employees since construction, travel, and maintenance can span across several state lines. Railroad employees who are injured on the job are instead covered by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act — FELA — which was passed in 1908 to protect and compensate them. Therefore, it’s crucial that a railroad worker who is injured on the job retains the counsel of an experienced railroad injury lawyer skilled in handling cases under FELA. The train accident and railroad injury attorneys of Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm are union designated FELA attorneys.

Unlike workers’ compensation in other industries, FELA is fault-based. That is, to receive benefits, an injured railroad worker must prove the injury was at least partially caused by the negligence of a railroad employee. Negligence may be proven when the railroad fails to provide a safe environment to work in. But if it can be proven that the worker was partially at fault for the unsafe condition, the liability is proportioned between the worker and the company.

If, however, the railroad company violated federal law or regulation, the railroad company may be held to a standard of strict liability. Under strict liability, even if the worker was partially negligent, the railroad company is 100% at fault.

What an Experienced Railroad and Train Accident Lawyer Can Do for You

Achieving recovery in a negligence claim against a railroad company requires a skilled attorney who knows how to secure the compensation you deserve. You need an attorney with experience dealing with whatever your case presents.

Based in Anoka, MN, Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm is the front line of defense capable of protecting you if you have been injured by the negligence of another in a railroad or train accident. Contact Bolt Hoffer Boyd for a free consultation to review your case and discuss your options. A catastrophic injury or wrongful death cannot be fully compensated, but Bolt Hoffer Boyd will provide a personalized approach for a positive result allowing you to recover from the negligent party and set you on the road to becoming whole again.