Train Accident Attorney


Have you been injured in a train accident or as a result of negligence by a train company? Do you need a train accident lawyer to help you file a suit? Call Sotiriou Wilmowski at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form for a free consultation

When a train accident occurs, the result is never good. Massive fires, explosions, and the crushing weight of 200,000-pound steel train cars can easily spell out death, injury, and the catastrophic destruction of property.

While many of our clients think that the likelihood of becoming a victim of a train accident is unlikely, statistics show that this notion couldn’t be farther from the truth. In 2022 alone, nearly 1,000 train accidents were reported nationwide, with a good portion of these occurring in Illinois and Missouri. These states respectively ranked 3rd and 23rd among the top 25 states where train accidents took place that year.

In the sections below, our firm has mapped out how these accidents occur, the types of injuries that we often see result from train accidents, and how victims of train accidents can seek compensation in the event that they or a loved one is injured or killed as a result of a train accident. If you have any immediate questions, we encourage you to give Sotiriou Wilmowski a call at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form. Our law firm has been helping families in Missouri and Illinois successfully file personal injury suits for over 15 years.

Types of Train Accidents

Train accidents come in many shapes and sizes, and range from minor scrapes and bruising to catastrophic accidents resulting in multiple casualties. In the sections below, our firm has detailed a few common train accidents and how they typically occur.

Train Derailment

Train derailments are among the most common and potentially devastating train accidents. They occur when a train leaves the tracks due to various factors such as excessive speed, track defects, mechanical failures, or operator error.

The consequences of a derailment can be severe, leading to injuries or fatalities among passengers, crew members, and bystanders. In addition to the immediate impact, derailments can also result in significant property damage and environmental hazards, particularly if hazardous materials are being transported.

Train derailments can occur for multiple reasons, often stemming from a combination of human error and infrastructure issues. For instance, inadequate maintenance of tracks, bridges, or switches can increase the likelihood of derailments.

Moreover, adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, snow, or extreme temperatures can also exacerbate track defects, leading to derailments. Human factors such as fatigue, distraction, or inadequate training may also contribute to derailments by causing errors in judgment or operational mistakes.

The aftermath of a train derailment often involves complex investigations to determine the root cause and prevent future incidents through improved safety regulations and infrastructure upgrades.

Train Collisions

Train collisions happen for a variety of reasons, including signal malfunctions, miscommunications by dispatch and crew members, or mechanical failures.

Collisions often result in significant damage to the trains involved, as well as injuries or fatalities to passengers and crew members. The force generated by the collision can cause cars to derail or overturn, leading to secondary accidents and further injuries.

Train collisions pose a significant risk to railway safety and require stringent safety measures to prevent them. Advanced signaling systems, such as Positive Train Control (PTC), are typically utilized in order to help mitigate the risk of collisions by automatically controlling train speeds and providing real-time monitoring of train movements.

Additionally, comprehensive training programs for railway personnel on collision avoidance strategies and emergency response protocols, in addition to regular maintenance and inspections of railway infrastructure are crucial to identifying and preventing train collisions. If these protocols aren’t followed, there’s a good chance that a collision is imminent.

Train Crossing Accidents

Train crossing accidents, also known as railroad crossing accidents, happen when a train collides with a vehicle, pedestrian, or other obstruction at a railway crossing.


Though these accidents frequently occur due to negligence or recklessness, such as drivers attempting to beat the train or failing to obey warning signals, poor visibility, inadequate signage, or malfunctioning crossing signals can also contribute to significant injuries or death at railroad crossings.


Reducing the frequency and severity of train crossing accidents requires intentional and regulated engineering, education, and enforcement.


Several Missouri laws require the installation (and regular maintenance) of improved warning systems, such as flashing lights, gates, and audible alarms at railway crossings to alert drivers and pedestrians of approaching trains. If inadequate warning systems are present at the scene of the accident, the parties responsible for failing to warn motorists or pedestrians of an oncoming train may be found liable.

Passenger Injuries

Apart from the massive wreckage involved in train crashes or accidents, there is an entirely separate range of incidents that can occur while onboard a train. These injuries may result from slips, trips, and falls due to sudden movements or uneven surfaces within the train cars or injuries that occur during emergency evacuations, collisions, or derailments.

Common passenger injuries include broken bones, concussions, whiplash, and soft tissue injuries. In severe cases, passengers may experience traumatic injuries or fatalities, particularly if they are not properly secured or if safety protocols are not followed during emergencies.

Implementing required safety measures such as secure handrails, non-slip flooring, and clear signage can help reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls onboard trains.

Providing adequate training to railway staff in emergency response procedures and passenger assistance techniques is mandatory for ensuring prompt and effective interventions during critical situations. When crew members ignore their training, however, it can result in devastating consequences.

Common Train Accident Injuries

Whether it resulted from a train collision, or from tripping and falling while walking to the dining car, victims of train accidents can sustain serious injuries, and in some cases, death or coma. Below are a few ways a train accident may cause injuries to passengers or crew members.

  • Whiplash: Passengers or train staff can experience whiplash if the train suddenly stops or collides with another object or train, causing their heads to jerk forward and backward rapidly.
  • Fractures: Train accidents can result in fractures to limbs, ribs, or the skull if passengers are thrown against hard surfaces or crushed by collapsing structures.
  • Lacerations and Contusions: Flying debris, broken glass, or metal parts within the train can cause cuts, bruises, and other types of injuries to passengers and crew members.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Severe blows to the head during a train accident can lead to traumatic brain injuries, ranging from concussions to more severe forms of brain damage.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Impact during a train collision or derailment can cause spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis or long-term neurological damage.
  • Crush Injuries: Passengers or crew members can sustain crush injuries if they become trapped between train cars or within the wreckage during a collision or derailment.
  • Psychological Trauma: Witnessing or experiencing a train accident can lead to psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and depression.
  • Amputations: Train accidents involving severe trauma or entrapment can lead to traumatic amputations of limbs or extremities.
  • Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma from a train collision or derailment can cause internal injuries such as organ damage, internal bleeding, and abdominal trauma.

Unfortunately, amputations, TBIs, and broken bones aren’t the worst types of injuries that you may sustain from a train accident. Deaths resulting from a train went up over 10% from 2021 to 2022 with nearly 1,000 fatalities nationwide. If you’ve lost a loved one as a result of a train crash, poor lighting or signage, or any other reason, we encourage you to seek compensation. Sotiriou Wilmowski has over 35 years of combined experience with the personal injury lawsuit process in Missouri and Illinois and have received awards surpassing millions of dollars. Call our office today at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form.

Let us help you

As former insurance defense lawyers, personal injury attorneys Deme Sotiriou and Tom Wilmowski of Sotiriou Wilmowski pride themselves on using their inside knowledge of the insurance industry to obtain maximum value — and often more — for their clients.

Train Accident Compensation

When someone is injured in a train accident, they’re likely to experience life-changing consequences – if they survive. Because the level of damage is so extreme in train accident cases, the amount awarded to victims of train accidents is often much higher than a car accident or other type of accident.

When a suit is filed, several factors will be looked at to determine the specific circumstances of the train accident and the extent of the damages sustained. Types of damages may include:

  • Medical Expenses: Coverage for medical bills, treatments, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost Income: Compensation for wages lost during recovery and future earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: Monetary recompense for physical and emotional distress.
  • Loss of Consortium: Compensation for spouses or family members for the loss of companionship.
  • Punitive Damages: Possible financial penalties for egregious conduct of responsible parties.
  • Funeral Expenses: Coverage for funeral and burial costs in fatal accidents.
  • Legal Fees: Reimbursement for attorney fees and related legal expenses.

Determining exactly how much an individual will be awarded will depend on the severity of the injuries, the circumstances of the accident, and the insurance coverage that the respondent has.

Typically, when determining how much is owed in financial compensation, hard evidence such as medical bills will make calculating damages fairly straightforward. However, determining emotional damages can become more complicated without adequate legal representation.

Who Can Be Liable for Train Accidents?

Liability in railroad accident cases will fall on the negligent party, but depending on the type of accident an individual has fallen victim to and the specific circumstances of the accident, determining who is liable is often very complicated.

Derailments, collisions, and crossing accidents can all happen as a result of poorly maintained equipment and inadequate training of crewmembers (negligence by a train company, such as Amtrak) or as a result of poorly maintained tracks and faulty installation of hardware (railway maintenance or construction company negligence).

There might even be rare situations where motorists or pedestrians can be held liable, especially in cases of railway crossing accidents, or train derailments caused by vandalism.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured on a Train?

The most important thing you can do if you’ve been injured on (or by) a train is seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries don’t seem serious at the time.

If you’re able to do so, document the scene of the accident and your injuries the best you can without interfering with first responders and safety protocols. Write down an account of the event from start to finish as soon as you’re able to do so, and take pictures throughout the recovery process.

When to Hire a Train Accident Attorney

The second most crucial action you can take after seeking treatment for your injuries is to speak with a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you throughout the legal process from start to finish by interviewing witnesses, communicating with liable parties and insurance carriers on your behalf, and filing the necessary paperwork to initiate a personal injury lawsuit.

If you’re looking for representation with extensive experience with these types of accidents, call Sotiriou Wilmowski at 314-925-1000 or reach out through our online contact form for a free case evaluation.

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