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West Virginia Railroad Accidents
West Virginia Railroad Accidents

I focus on achieving favorable results with dedication & hard-work.- Griffin O'Hanlon

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Railroad Crossing Accidents in West Virginia Call for Experienced Attorneys

Holding major railroad companies responsible for your injury

West Virginia has a proud tradition of coal mining, an industry that has long relied on rail transportation to move its materials. As a result, railroad workers in the rail switching yard, fixing and inspecting track, and on transportation department train crews are essential to the state’s economy, and rail lines crisscross the landscape. However, rail traffic comes at a price in terms of injuries and fatalities at crossings, on the road, and in rail yards.

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers works hard to get you full and fair compensation if you have been hurt in a rail accident in West Virginia. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling railroad accident claims and can act on your behalf through negotiations or trial if need be.

Railroad crossing injuries are common events

With major rail depots in Grafton and Bluefield, rail lines cross large portions of the Mountain State. With so many tracks, so heavily used, people run the risk of being involved in accidents where roads cross the path of a train. Statistics reveal dozens of such accidents every year at West Virginia rail crossings, leaving people injured and killed. If you or a family member has recently been hurt in a railroad crossing accident, the rail company that operates it may be responsible for your injuries.

Causes of crossing accidents

Sometimes motorists blame train engineers for not blowing their whistle.  Other times, accidents may be the result of railroad company negligence at the crossings, such as:

  • Overgrown vegetation — Overgrowth can hamper a driver's ability to see the track, and the conductor's view of oncoming cars.
  • Crossbucks —The signs that resemble the letter X. Lack of signage or missing stop signs can be an accident waiting to happen.
  • Malfunctioning lights / gates — Malfunctioning signals pose a grave danger. 

In addition, it takes approximately one-third of a mile for a train to stop depending on speed and weight. 

Freight train accidents are always serious and sometimes deadly

The force of a freight train hitting a vehicle at a railroad crossing is comparable to your car crushing an aluminum soda can, according to one analysis. The sheer amount of force can cause critical injuries and fatalities to drivers, vehicle occupants and train crews. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, which tracks freight train accidents, such accidents in 2012 nationwide resulted in:

  • 1,967 collisions
  • 946 injuries
  • 273 fatalities

The fatality rate for train accidents is roughly 20 times higher per incident than accidents between two passenger vehicles. If your crash is the result of negligence on the part of the rail company, our firm can help.

Railroad workers are protected by federal law

Railroad workers, other rail employees and contractors who are injured in collisions or other incidents involving freight trains or other types of trains due to the negligence of the rail company usually are protected by the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Under that law, you are eligible to recover damages for:

  • Past and future lost wages and benefits
  • Medical expenses and treatment
  • Partial or permanent disability
  • Pain and suffering

If you were hurt on the job in a railroad worker accident, you may be entitled to legal recovery for your ordeal.

Contact us if you have been hurt in a West Virginia train accident or on the job as a railroad worker

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers is well versed in FELA law and personal injury. If you have suffered a train accident or have been injured on the property of a rail company, speak with us to find out more about your legal options. We offer free case evaluations and contingency fees, so you pay nothing until you receive a settlement or judgment. Contact us at 757.455.0077 or online to learn more. 

John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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