There’s Nowhere Like a Train Station in Winter
Train travel is a year-round staple in Connecticut, whether you’re commuting to work, traveling for the holidays, or simply avoiding rush-hour traffic. While trains might seem like a safer option during bad-weather months, train passengers face all sorts of hazards, even at the best of times.
Trains Aren’t That Safe to Begin With
Train travel has many hidden dangers. Of all the long-distance travel options, passenger trains rank second below car travel when it comes to fatalities. Train travel is four times riskier than bus travel, while commercial air travel is the least dangerous travel in terms of fatalities per passenger per mile.
Why are trains so dangerous? First, railroad infrastructure across the country is aging, and governments and train operators are not doing enough to replace it. A New York Times column opined that government regulation of railroads and railroad bridges has been lax, and the companies that manage the tracks have been slow to make repairs, even in places where there is obvious decay.
Platforms Have Their Risks, Too
Many train platforms are poorly designed, leaving waiting passengers dangerously exposed to the freezing weather and risk of accidents. Every year, people are injured while getting on or off trains because of the gap between the train car and the platform. Waiting passengers are also at risk when trains speed through a station without stopping. Few stations have taken the precaution of building Plexiglas platform barriers, which have become standard in many other countries. Until they do, incidents like this will happen.
Slip-and-fall accidents cause serious harm to unsuspecting pedestrians. During rush hour, people are in a hurry and a lot of unintentional pushing and jostling occurs. When you add in icy surfaces, accidents can and do happen frequently. They result in broken bones, concussions, spinal injuries, or worse. If platform attendants do not de-ice and dry the sidewalks and floors, provide carpeted walkways, or put up clearly marked signs warning of slippery areas, then the station may be found negligent if a passenger slips and falls.
Another danger is posed by the way intersections next to train stations have been designed. For example, while Branford residents were largely in favor of new railway development, their biggest concern was pedestrian traffic safety outside the stations. They pointed out that inconsiderate drivers moving at excessive speeds were a known threat.
Who Might Be Responsible for a Train Station Accident
Public transportation is defined under federal law as a common carrier. Because common carriers offer their services to the general public under the authority of a regulatory body, they have a duty of care to passengers and their belongings. This means that common carriers, such as train companies, must take action to protect their passengers from any foreseeable dangers.
Whether winter or summer, traveling by train poses a lot of risks, some obvious, others less so. When the companies that operate these trains do not exercise proper caution—like failing to inspect, repair, maintain, or design the stations—they can be held liable for accidents that occur.
If you or someone you know has been injured at a train station, get help from a legal advocate immediately. You may be able to receive full compensation for any and all damages. The attorneys at Naizby Law are well-versed in premises liability, and will let you know if you have a case. Call us at (203) 245-8500 for a free consultation.
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For over 20 years, John has exclusively represented people (not corporations).
John has received the America’s Top 100 Attorneys Lifetime Achievement Award.
Since the year 2000, John has been a Board Certified Civil Lawyer.
John is a graduate and senior instructor at the Trial Lawyers College.