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5 Common Causes of Train Accidents


New Jersey residents often take the train to commute to work or school, travel to New York City, or even household run errands. Although train accidents are extremely rare, they can be far more catastrophic compared to other public transportation crashes, such as bus accidents. 

New Jersey has experienced many train accidents over the past century. The most recent accident occurred in 2016 in a Hoboken terminal, when a train plowed through the barrier at the end of the tracks, killing one person and injuring 108 people. 

Similar to car accidents, train accidents can happen in a variety of ways for several different reasons. 

The following are the five most common causes of train accidents: 

  1. Negligence – Train accidents caused by negligence can be blamed on different groups. The most common liable party is the train conductor due to operating the train while distracted, fatigued, or even intoxicated. The railway company or even a government agency can also be held liable because of a conductor’s or railroad employee’s negligence.  

  1. Human error – Whether a conductor is inexperienced or lacks the proper training or a railroad employee makes a mistake that harms passengers, human error is one of the most common causes of any crash, including train accidents. 

  1. Driver or pedestrian error – Train accidents can also be caused by a pedestrian on a train track or a car attempting to beat the train across a crossing. 

  1. Mechanical malfunction – Defective train parts and mechanical failure can occasionally occur since trains are massive machines comprised of many moving parts and complex systems, which is why they require continuous inspection and maintenance. If a piece of safety or guidance equipment fails, the malfunction can lead to a devastating crash. 

  1. Defective tracks – Many railroad tracks are decades old. Everyday use can sometimes result in broken or cracked rails, especially when tracks are exposed to the elements. When the crack is significant or wide enough, it can cause a passing grain to derail and go off its course. Derailments in crowded places can cause severe property damage and even pedestrian accidents. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident in New Jersey, contact our Woodbridge legal team at Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. today at (732) 709-4400 for a free initial consultation. Secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients!