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| Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn

The Federal Railroad Administration maintains statistics from all Class One and other short line railroads. The statistics are in for calendar year 2008 and they showed that there were 11,144 railroad accidents/incidents in 2008 for the first 11 months. The FRA office of safety analysis stated that that was a decrease of 11.2% from the like period since 2007. However, the total number of Railroad employee deaths was 23 in 2008, compared with 16 in the prior year, which constitutes nearly a 50% increase in railroad worker deaths. Also, there were 271 Highway-rail grade crossing deaths for the first 11 months of 2008, which was down 11% from 2007.

It appears that the number of accidents (railroad derailments, railroad crossing, railroad accidents) on the railroads were down and this is partly attributable to better safety practices at railroads. Railroad injury lawyers wonder if the statistics are believable, because of intimidation and harassment techniques that prevent many workers from actually filing an accident report which are in turn handed over to the Federal Railroad Administration. It is a common practice at the nation’s railroads to request that a worker take leave time that is not reported to the FRA, rather than forcing the Railroad supervisor to file an accident report, with lost time from work, that must in turn be filed with the federal government under federal regulations.

Could Railroad efforts to convince workers not to make an accident report be as high as 10%, whereby there would be no true reduction? There is no way to accurately measure this information except there have been many cases brought to our Railroad injury law firm’s attention where valid accident reports were never filed, some arising in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia or elsewhere

The statistic involving those killed or suffering wrongful deaths on the railroad is a staggering increase between 2007 and 2008, one that should be addressed by the Federal Railroad Administration, particularly when compared to the decline in overall accidents.

Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia, with offices in northeast NC and Virginia Beach (VA), practicing primarily in the southeastern U.S. and handles only injury law, including car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. The firm’s website is:, the firm edits three injury law blogs: Virginia Beach Injuryboard & Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard and also hosts a video library covering many FAQ’s on personal injury subjects

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