Train Accidents
David Randolph Smith
David Randolph Smith Edmund J. Schmidt III
Phone:(615) 742-1775
Toll-Free:(800) 394-2119
Fax: (615) 742-1223
Train Accidents

In 2004 the New York Times began an investigative journalism series, "Death on the Tracks," that detailed how some of the nation's largest railroad corporations have attempted to sidestep blame and avoid liability for hundreds of deadly accidents at railroad crossings. A television documentary, "Trouble on the Tracks" was produced on the Discovery Times Channel.

The New York Times series highlighted that fatal accidents often occur in small towns and rural areas where crossing accidents are a fact of life. These accidents usually receive coverage only in small-town newspapers. Sadly, this is all too true for Tennessee. Tennessee has thousands of crossings and miles of railroad tracks, including main lines operated by CSX, Norfolk Southern, BNSF and others.

In choosing a lawyer/law firm to handle a major train accident case the experience and success in handling railorad lawsuits is essential. Our firm offers Board-certification as a Civil and Medical Liability specialist and a track-record of winning significant settlements and judgments in train accident cases. David Randolph Smith has successfully prosecuted fatal train accident and railroad crossing injury cases against railroads and track owners in Tennessee and Texas.

Here is a picture from a current case the firm is prosecuting against CSX railroad for serious injuries that occurred in a train-vehicle crossing accident collision.

What You Should Know

The railroad system in the United States includes over 600 railroads, over 200,000 miles of track, 1,200,000 freight cars and 20,000 locomotives. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, each year there are approximately 3,000 train accidents in the U.S. and about 1000 people lose their lives.

The Depth of the Problem

Deaths from crossing accidents are most often in the one-to-two range, thereby limiting wide spread public shock and/or outrage.

FRA and the National Transportation Safety Board investigate very few accidents.

First responders to railroad-crossing accidents often accept the explanation of the train engineer and/or conductor, blaming the victim for the collision.

Railroads and their attorneys stress the interrelated themes of victim-at-fault and needed-driver-education, without commenting on deficient crossings.

Blaming the victim has been generally accepted by a public that is unfamiliar with the underlying causes of crossing accidents, the ultra-dangerous conditions of many crossings, and the complexities of the administrative safety network.

There is overall a declining accident rate (largely due to railroad downsizing, crossing closures, and gate installations) and this has provided cover for administrative deficiencies.

There is no national victims' advocate organization or ombudsman. Until the Times series, there was almost no public acknowledgement of problems with the administrative safety system.


Every 90 minutes there is a train collision or derailment

Railroads are essentially self-regulated and do come under the close scrutiny of the federal government.

Rail companies continue to rely on technology that was developed over 70 years ago and very little effort has been made to update safety measures

The National Transportation Safety Board indicates that 60% of all crossing fatalities occur at unprotected crossings and that approximately 80% of all public railroad crossings are not protected by lights and safety gates.

The most common types of railroad accidents are collisions with other trains, derailment, collisions with passenger vehicles, improperly maintained tracks and mechanical failure.

More than 50% of all railroad accidents occur at unprotected crossings and, according to the Federal Railroad Administration

Over 80% of railroad crossings don't have adequate warning devices.

The laws governing liability in the case of railroad accident and injury are complex.In order to represent injured clients in the best possible manner the firm should have an understanding of the human anatomy and how it responds to an injury. Through experience and education, we can expertly evaluate injuries and successfully pursue claims on behalf of the plaintiff.

Our Firm

David Randolph Smith is Certified as a Civil Litigation Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Mr. Smith is also certified as a Medical Malpractice Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.

Certification requires proof that the attorney is in good standing, is substantially involved in litigating and trying cases (including minimum trial day requirements), has met continuing legal education requirements and has been subjected to peer review by persons against whom they have tried cases, as well as judges before whom they have appeared.

Fewer than 1% of Tennessee's attorneys are certified as Civil Trial Specialists and only 10 attorneys are certified as Medical Malpractice Specialists.

We stand ready to represent you and to promptly take the action necessary to gather and preserve important evidence in order to obtain a successful outcome for you.

Several factors should be considered by a prospective client in seeking quality legal representation when a train accident occurs:

Time is of the essence - an investigation should be completed promptly.

A firm should be ready to investigate on short notice.

A firm should have the ability to investigate quickly

The firm routinely uses private airplanes for this purpose

A firm should be able to evaluate medical issues -Mr. Smith is certified in medical malpractice and the firm uses nurses and conslutants to assist with preparation of medical proof.

If you are seeking a:

Board-Certified Specialist in Medical Malpractice and Civil Litigation, or a

Tennessee Train Accident Lawyer

Tennessee Trucking Accident Lawyer

Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyer

Tennessee Auto Accident Lawyer

Tennesse Product Liability Lawyer

Tennessee Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Tennessee Wrongful Death Lawyer

Tennessee Civil Rights Lawyer

Tennessee Birth Injury Lawyer or

Tennessee Fire Lawyer,

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your case confidentially and free of charge.

Where Can I Find Additional Information?

Copyright 2005 Law Offices of David Randolph Smith & Edmund J. Schmidt III.
All rights reserved.
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Last updated: 11/29/11