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Trains. To children enthralled by the “Thomas the Tank Engine” series, they are some of the coolest machines on wheels. To drivers, passengers and pedestrians experiencing excruciating waits as they pass by a crossing, they are annoying. And, to commuters or people depending on the goods aboard them, they are essential. Whatever you may think about this form of transportation, it’s difficult to deny that trains are integral to the daily lives and economic well-being of many Canadians.
Although a generally safe form of transportation, a train’s large size, exceptionally heavy weight, the speeds at which they travel, and the length of time it takes to come to a stop when travelling at higher speeds, can make accidents particularly damaging.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a train, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers are available to answer your questions about claiming compensation for your injury. Ranked as one of the country’s top personal injury firms, our knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate team is renowned for our commitment to full-circle client care. We will gladly help you in any way we can.
Heavy rail transit and other trains in Ontario.
Heavy rail transit is usually defined as inter-city rail transit where there are dedicated right of way tracks. In southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region, GO Transit operates seven heavy rail transit routes (Lakeshore West, Lakeshore East, Milton, Kitchener, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Stouffville) and is in the planning stages of several others (Bolton, Midtown corridor, Peterborough). There are more than 250 weekday train trips and about 217,000 boardings.
The Union-Pearson (UP) Express is a 23-kilometre long airport rail link that carries more than 10,000 daily passengers between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Union Station (with links to the TTC subway, GO Trains and buses, and VIA Rail passenger trains). Consisting of four stations, a complete trip between terminals takes about 25 minutes.
Via Rail is a Crown corporation designed to facilitate inter-city travel across eight provinces. The vast majority of its ridership (95 per cent) and weekly trains (more than 80 per cent) operate in the Quebec-Windsor corridor, but “The Canadian” and the “Lake Superior” passenger routes are also managed by Via.
Two national railway companies, the Canadian National (CN) Railway and the Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway, and an additional 17 other rail companies operate routes either within Ontario or between provinces including Ontario. Passenger service on most of these railways has been eliminated, although plans for reviving passenger trains as a part of Ontario’s Northlander service are underway. Most other train traffic on these rail lines consists of freight service.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (“TSB”) gathers reports of incidents and accidents involving Canada’s federally regulated train network. Accidents involving persons are defined as a death or serious injury of a person “getting on or off or being on board the rolling stock, or coming into contact with any part of the rolling stock or its contents.” Other accidents involve damage to the rolling stock, its contents or other rail infrastructure through collision, derailment, fire, explosion, unintentional release of hazardous materials or other damage that affects the safe operation of the rolling stock.
Recent statistics show about 1,000 accidents per year across Canada. Freight trains accounted for just under 40 per cent and single cars/locomotives and track units accounted for just under 60 per cent. The remainder, about four per cent, involved passenger trains. About one in six accidents occurred at rail crossings. Two-thirds of rail fatalities (approximately 60 to 70 annually) are the result of trespassing, while about one in four are crossing fatalities.
Thankfully, high-fatality train accidents are rare. However, when they occur they are devastating to passengers and communities alike. The 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster killed 47 people and destroyed entire city blocks. In 2012 and 2013, two separate Via Rail accidents (the Burlington derailment and the Ottawa bus-train crash) killed nine people and injured more than 80 others.
While there can be many causes of train accidents, the most common reasons for injury-causing accidents include:
- negligence of train operators and railway staff (failure to adhere to the proper process, inattention, intoxication, speeding).
- reckless motor vehicle drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians who trespass or cross tracks at unsafe times.
- stalled vehicles on tracks.
- unprotected rail crossings or defective safety features at crossings (lights, bells, crossing arms).
- mechanical failures and/or defective tracks.
Injuries caused by train accidents.
Depending on the type of accident which has occurred, a person may sustain one of more of the following injuries:
- traumatic brain injuries.
- spinal cord injuries, nerve damage and/or paralysis.
- broken bones, crushed bones, amputations.
- cuts, bruising, burns, scars or disfiguring injuries.
- internal bleeding or organ damage.
- post-traumatic stress syndrome.
In the aftermath of a train accident, your first priority must always be to ensure your own safety at the scene. Even if you don’t believe you are injured or you think your injury is only minor, it is advisable to be examined by first responders and/or visit your family doctor or other healthcare provider as soon as you are able. Sometimes a person in a state of shock will not feel the extent of an injury for hours or days later. Establishing a medical record of your injury will be important when seeking compensation or damages.
Although it is likely police and federal transportation officials will come to the scene as a part of their own investigation, if you or a person with you are able, try to take photographs or video of the scene and/or your injuries. Recording or writing down your memory of how the events occurred, and collecting contact information for any witnesses at the scene can also be helpful for a future claim. Don’t speak about what happened in the accident to anyone other than police, and even if you believe you may have caused or contributed to the accident, do not admit fault.
We can help.
Being involved in a serious train accident is life-changing. Beyond physical injuries and the potential for permanent disability, the mental and emotional toll of experiencing such a traumatic event can have an enormous impact on your ability to enjoy your life as you did before. As you come to terms with what has happened, it is normal to feel angry and sad. You may worry about what the future may hold and how you will be able to provide for your loved ones if your injury prevents you from working.
You should know that you are not alone. Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers have helped hundreds of people who have experienced serious personal injuries build back their lives in the aftermath of tragedy. Our compassionate and caring team provides full-circle care to our clients as we help secure them compensation for their injuries and connect them with resources and support networks that are incredibly helpful during an accident victim’s rehabilitation and recovery.
Consistently named by our legal peers as one of the country’s top personal injury firms, our knowledgeable, skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers are capable of taking on even the most complex and challenging cases. With a proven track record for getting results, when we take on a case it’s because we are confident in our ability to pursue the case with the goal in mind of a successful outcome for our client – whether by court award or fair settlement. We will only accept payment for our legal services if we are successful in obtaining funds for you. Moreover, we cover all expenses associated with your case during legal proceedings. We strongly believe a person’s finances should never be a barrier to accessing justice when they’ve suffered a serious personal injury.
The Gluckstein advantage.
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers are not only renowned for providing effective legal representation, but also for ensuring a level of client care that goes above and beyond what many people expect. We treat our clients as we would treat our own family. Knowing that you and your loved ones are facing unimaginably trying times, we do everything we can to assist you in recovering and building back your best life possible.
Our client liaisons, some of whom have experienced their own personal injury cases, are always available to discuss the state of your case, explain the legal process, and connect you with resources that may assist with your recovery. Even after legal proceedings end, our interest in you does not. We take pride in building long-lasting relationships with clients. This type of connection allows us to keep in touch with you, to hear how you are doing, and to see how the compensation we secured for you is helping you and your loved ones.
If you or your loved one has suffered a serious injury in a train accident, the team at Gluckstein Lawyers is here to help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve for your losses. As your trusted legal representative and fierce and tireless advocate, we will be on your side and at your side as you seek justice for the harm another person’s negligence has caused.
Tell us about your accident or injury. We can help.
At Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers, the initial meeting is free and without obligation on your part – and we never charge you legal fees until your claim is settled.