Grand Forks & North Dakota Train Accident Attorneys

Train in north dakota

Serving North Dakota

Train accidents can have devastating consequences for railroad workers, train passengers, and those traveling in motor vehicles. In North Dakota, these accidents often result in severe injuries, property damage, and even loss of life. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in a train accident, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options for seeking compensation. At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., our experienced North Dakota train accident lawyers are dedicated to helping accident victims and their families navigate the legal process and fight for the justice they deserve. Call us today for a confidential consultation about your case.

Common Types of Train Accidents

Train accidents can occur in various ways, each with its own set of unique challenges and potential for serious harm. Some of the most common types of train accidents include:

  • Train derailments: When a train leaves the tracks, it can cause widespread damage and injuries to passengers, crew members, and anyone in the vicinity of the accident site.
  • Collisions with other trains: Head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, and side-impact crashes between two trains can result in catastrophic damage and loss of life.
  • Grade crossing accidents: These accidents occur when a train collides with a motor vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist at a designated railroad crossing. Failure to obey traffic signals, malfunctioning crossing gates, and lack of warning signs can contribute to these accidents.
  • Passenger train accidents: Accidents involving passenger trains, such as Amtrak, can lead to numerous injuries and fatalities due to the high number of people on board.
  • Toxic spills: When trains carrying hazardous materials derail or collide, they can cause dangerous chemical spills that threaten the health and safety of nearby communities.
  • Fires and explosions: Train accidents involving flammable cargo or fuel can result in devastating fires and explosions, causing burn injuries and significant property damage.
  • Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians who trespass on railroad tracks or fail to exercise caution at train stations can be struck by trains, resulting in serious injuries or death.

Common Causes of Train Accidents

Train accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, many of which involve human error or negligence. Some of the most common causes of train accidents in North Dakota include:

  • Operator error: Train operators who are inexperienced, distracted, or fatigued can make mistakes that lead to accidents.
  • Mechanical failures: Defective or poorly maintained train or railroad components, such as brakes, tracks, or signals, can contribute to accidents.
  • Excessive speed: When trains travel at speeds higher than what is safe for the conditions, the risk of derailment or collision increases.
  • Failure to follow safety regulations: Railroad companies and their employees must adhere to strict safety guidelines. When these regulations are ignored, accidents can occur.
  • Motor vehicle driver negligence: Drivers who fail to yield the right of way at railroad crossings or attempt to beat the train can cause serious collisions.

A recent example of a train accident caused by a driver’s failure to yield occurred in Stutsman County, North Dakota. On December 9, 2022, a 19-year-old female driver from Jamestown failed to yield the right of way at a railroad crossing just west of Spiritwood. As a result, a BNSF train struck the rear driver’s side of her 2015 Ford Fusion, causing the vehicle to spin out and come to rest on the south side of the tracks. 

Fortunately, the driver was wearing a seatbelt and did not sustain injuries. However, this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of exercising caution and obeying traffic laws around railroad crossings.

Injuries Resulting from Train Accidents

The sheer size and weight of trains can lead to catastrophic injuries when accidents occur. Some of the most common injuries sustained in train accidents include:

These injuries can result in significant medical expenses, lost wages, and a diminished quality of life. In the most tragic cases, train accidents can lead to wrongful death, leaving families devastated and struggling to cope with their loss.

Legal Options for Train Accident Victims

If you’ve been injured in a train accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. The legal options available to you will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and your relationship to the railroad company.

For railroad workers, the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) provides a pathway to seek compensation for injuries sustained on the job. Under FELA, injured workers must prove that the railroad company’s negligence contributed to their injuries. This is different from traditional workers’ compensation claims, which do not require proof of fault. A knowledgeable train accident attorney can help you gather evidence and build a strong case under FELA.

Passengers and motor vehicle drivers injured in train accidents may be able to file personal injury lawsuits against the railroad company or other negligent parties. To succeed in these claims, you’ll need to demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries and that you suffered losses as a result.

In cases of wrongful death, the surviving family members may be able to pursue a claim to recover damages for their loved one’s medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and other losses.

Contact a North Dakota Train Accident Attorney Today

Train accidents can have life-altering consequences for those involved, and navigating the legal process after such a traumatic event can be overwhelming. If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident in North Dakota, the compassionate and skilled attorneys at Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., are here to help. 

With over a century of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims, we have the knowledge and resources necessary to pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (701) 775-9000 or schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in your recovery journey.

Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. is committed to supporting individuals in North Dakota, including Grand Forks and Minot, as well as the surrounding areas.