Experienced Portland Maine Train Accident Lawyers

Portland Maine Train Accident Lawyers

Find out why we are some of the best Portland Maine Train Accident Lawyers

What is a Train Accident?

Orange train crossing a bridge in Portland Maine

A train accident is an incident involving one or more trains that results in harm or damage to individuals or property.

These accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, such as a collision between oncoming trains, a derailment, or a train hitting a person or vehicle.

Train accidents can be caused by various factors:

Due to the size and weight of trains, accidents can cause severe injuries or even fatal injures to those involved.

Causes of Train Accidents

Human Error:

Human error can lead to train accidents in a variety of ways.

A train operator or conductor may improperly operate the train, leading to a collision or derailment.

They may also become fatigued while on duty and make critical errors.

Communication problems between railway workers or a lack of proper training can also contribute to human error.

Drug or alcohol use by a crew member can lead to poor judgment and decision-making, including while operating a train.

Human error can result from the actions of people outside the train, such as those who ignore safety signals and warnings and trespass on railroad tracks.

Vehicle drivers who try to cross tracks when they should not, blocking the train’s path, can also cause accidents that lead to serious injuries and even fatalities.

Mechanical Failures:

Mechanical error is a common cause of train accidents. A train consists of various parts, including engines, braking and communication systems, couplings, and wheels that must work together flawlessly to ensure safe operation.

Mechanical failures can happen at any time and lead to accidents that result in injuries or fatalities, as well as extensive property damage.

If the brakes fail or malfunction, the train may not be able to stop as quickly as necessary to avoid an accident.

A failure in the communication system can result in miscommunication between train operators and signaling personnel, leading to dangerous situations.

Another mechanical issue that can cause train accidents is a failure in the wheels or axles. If the train’s wheels or axles are damaged or improperly maintained, they may not be able to securely grip the rails. This can cause the train to derail, leading to a disastrous accident.

Mechanical error is a leading cause of train accidents, and it is important to fully investigate the cause of any incident to determine whether mechanical failure played a role and who may be responsible for any damages incurred.

Track Problems:

When railroad tracks are not properly maintained, it can make them less stable and more likely to fail.

Problems such as cracks, scratches, damaged ties or fasteners, worn ballast, and debris on tracks can cause problems with the train’s wheels and prevent them from properly gripping the rails. This can cause the train to lose stability, derail, or collide with other trains or obstacles.

There were at least 1,164 train derailments across the country last year, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration. That means the country is averaging roughly three derailments per day. [1]

An issue with the signaling system, such as a signal displaying an incorrect speed limit or allowing a train to proceed when it should have stopped, can also result in a train accident.

These mistakes can be made by railway employees who are not properly trained or by an outdated signaling system that is overdue for maintenance or upgrade.

To prevent train accidents caused by track problems, the railway companies need to make sure that the tracks are properly maintained and that the signaling systems are up-to-date and correctly functioning.

If there are any signs of degradation or malfunctioning, the problem must be identified and fixed before it causes an accident resulting in injuries or fatalities.

Any negligence on the part of the railway company to maintain the railway tracks and signaling systems can be used as evidence in a train accident lawsuit to help determine liability and seek financial damages for damages. 

Environmental Factors:

Environmental factors can also play a role in train accidents. Each of the following could obstruct train tracks:

Obstructions on the tracks may result in derailments or collisions. Strong winds can cause trees or other objects to fall onto the tracks, or even push train cars off the tracks, which can lead to a serious accident.

Other environmental factors include extreme temperatures, such as heat that causes the track to buckle or cold that increases the likelihood of mechanical failure.

Visibility can also be affected in fog, or during nighttime conditions when there is insufficient lighting or signals, making it more difficult for train operators to see obstacles, track conditions or signals, leading to mistakes that can cause accidents.

While natural disasters or sudden changes in weather can be difficult to predict, railway companies need to make sure that their trains and rails are up to safety standards and be prepared to address unexpected weather events. 

Human Behavior:

Individuals who knowingly or unknowingly trespass on railway tracks can be involved in accidents that can lead to injuries or fatalities.

Drivers or pedestrians who disregard warning signals, such as gates, flashing lights, or audible alarms, at railroad crossings put themselves and the train’s passengers at risk of serious harm.

Reckless or negligent acts by train crew members or railway employees can lead to train accidents. This can include crew members who operate the train while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or employees who fail to properly inspect or maintain the train or track.

The actions of railway employees, including train operators, dispatchers, and maintenance crews, need to  be carefully monitored, and they must follow strict safety protocols to help prevent accidents.

Human behavior can be a significant factor in train accidents.

Liability for a Train Accident

Determining liability for a train related accident can be a complex process that requires an accident investigation into the cause of the accident.

Liability may fall on several parties, including the train crew members, contractors, maintenance workers, and management, depending on who is found to have been responsible for the incident.

The railway company may be found liable for the accident. This could be due to a lack of proper safety protocols, poorly trained employees, or inadequate maintenance of the train or tracks.

The railroad company has an obligation to ensure the safety of its employees and passengers, as well as other individuals and property that may be in proximity to the railway.

If the accident is found to have been caused by human behavior, the individual(s) responsible, such as a train operator, may be held liable for the damages caused.

If mechanical failure or track issues are identified as the cause, the manufacturers or maintenance contractors responsible for the faulty or poorly maintained equipment may be held liable.

Determining liability for train accidents is a complex process that requires the assistance of an experienced train accident lawyer. With their expertise and knowledge, they can investigate the accident causes and identify the parties responsible for the incident, and seek compensation for any damages incurred by the victim(s).

Common Personal Injuries from a Train Accident

Motor Vehicle Accidents vs. Train Accidents

Motor vehicle and train accidents can be severe, leading to catastrophic injuries or even fatal injuries. Some of the most common injuries that result from a train and motor vehicle accident include:

According to FRA statistics, 2,188 highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurred in 2022. There were 274 crossing fatalities and 777 crossing injuries in 2022 across the U.S. [2]

Pedestrian Injuries Near Railroads 

In the case of a pedestrian and train accident, the injuries can be even more severe because pedestrians have no protection against the size and force of the train. Some common injuries resulting from pedestrian and train accidents include:

You should seek comprehensive medical attention directly following a train accident to identify all injuries, begin treatment and establish medical records that will be crucial in the legal case that follows. 

Goldberg & Loren has decades of experience as Personal Injury Attorneys representing victims of train related accident. 

The train accident lawyers at Goldberg & Loren have successfully represented train accident victims throughout the state of Maine. If you have been injured in a train accident call for a consultation today.


[1] Hernandez, J. (2023, March 9). There are about 3 U.S. train derailments per day. They aren’t usually major disasters. NPR.

[2] Collisions & Fatalities by State | Operation Lifesaver. (n.d.). Collisions & Fatalities by State | Operation Lifesaver.

Goldberg & Loren Personal Injury Attorneys

180 Pool St Suite 105,
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 977-2838

George Goldberg

If you have been injured in a train accident then we may be able to help. Contact our Law Firm for a free consultation.

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