Train accidents can unquestionably cause serious injuries and death. Less than thirty minutes south of Oklahoma City, a train accident recently claimed the life of a man following the injuries he sustained in a train accident. Victims of train accidents, and their families, harmed in a train accident due to the negligence of railroad workers may wonder what options are available to help them with the costly process of recovery.
Like everywhere else in the country, trains are used in Oklahoma to transport passengers, raw materials, finished goods and other items to destinations in the state and beyond. Although relatively rare, train accidents do happen and can be catastrophic. When a train derails, for example, passengers can be injured or killed. If a train is carrying hazardous chemicals, a spill or fire following an accident can cause serious health problems for people living nearby.
Oklahoma is crisscrossed with railroad tracks over which trains move passengers, livestock, goods and other loads. Overall, train accidents are relatively uncommon. When they do occur, however, they can easily injure and kill people and destroy property.
Any Oklahoman who has seen locomotives pulling long chains of box cars and oil tankers knows how important trains are for the American economy. Trains also transport commuters in addition to a wide variety of commodities and even hazardous materials. Compared to many other places in the world, trains operate with a high degree of safety in the United States. Still, when train accidents do happen, the results for humans, other animals and property can be catastrophic.
Traveling by train in Oklahoma is still relevant and important. Besides providing affordable passenger transportation, these immense vehicles carry essential commodities to cities and towns throughout the country. As trains pass through Oklahoma towns, train safety is also relevant. Train accidents can cause massive property damage and serious injuries, and even death. A recent accident making headlines across the country demonstrated the devastation a train crash can cause when safety is compromised.
Oklahoma residents who have been involved with an accident involving a train all know just how devastating these accidents can be. Beyond injuries and deaths, surviving victims, their families and the relatives of anyone killed often endure considerable emotional trauma and grief. The lingering effects of train accident show just how traumatic such events can be.
In urban areas outside Oklahoma, trains are routinely used for daily transportation and commuting. Because they carry thousands of passengers every day, the operators of the train are responsible for ensuring the safety of their passengers.
Transporting crude oil via railway is a convenient way to bring the much needed fuel to many Americans, including those in Oklahoma City. In fact, reports state that almost 415,000 carloads of crude were transported via U.S. freight railroads in 2003. However, these benefits come at a price: train accidents. In fact, a recent deadly freight train accident shocked the nation after two trains, one of which was shipping crude oil, collided and caused a huge explosion. Another accident, this time a train derailment, killed 47 people and damaged the center of a local town in July.
A boom in North American oil production over the last decade has improved the energy situation of the United States but at some cost to transportation safety. Several deadly train accidents in Quebec, Oklahoma, Alabama, New Brunswick and North Dakota, among other places, led to a recent safety agreement between railroads and the U.S. Department of Transportation. In most of the train accidents, rail cars were carrying crude oil shipments that had catastrophic and explosive results from derailments and ruptured tanks.
After filing a wrongful death lawsuit in 2009, the family of an Oklahoma high school teacher and coach has finally won their case against BNSF Railway Co.