A Brief History Of Train Accidents And Personal Injury Lawsuits In Canada

MG Law Injury Lawyers

A Brief History Of Train Accidents And Personal Injury Lawsuits In Canada

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In 2019, train accidents were responsible for 72 Canadian fatalities

The dream of Colonel John Stevens in 1815 was to create a rail system that would connect the masses. In reality, North American rail systems would be littered with personal injuries, lawsuits, and preventable death. Train accidents have been all too common not just in Canada, but the entire world. Trial lawyers have been working tirelessly to improve the system. Not only that but providing the public with the compensation they deserve when negligence and wrongdoing occurs.

Time and again, injured parties have been faced with legal manoeuvres. These manoeuvres curb a corporation’s legal responsibility with financial penalties being avoided. In 2019, train accidents were responsible for 72 Canadian fatalities [1]. In short, public transit accidents are unfortunately all too common. With 23,000 highway-rail grade crossings in Canada [2], many offer a simple recipe for disaster.

Train accidents: Learn more about the facts and statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Association (FRA) claim that a vehicle or person is hit by a train once every four hours. Furthermore, 2020 saw 965 highway-rail accidents, with 59 of them resulting in death [3]. Many of these accidents are preventable by nature. Often, major players in the rail industry fail to address safety concerns and complete regular maintenance.

Even with so many incidents piling up, corporate entities have not paid their dues to the families they have impacted. Changes have only been implemented after tragic incidents occur. The players that manage these railroads refuse to ensure the safety of the public and their staff. Sometimes, they fail to take preemptive measures that can save lives. Only with the assistance of specialized trial lawyers across Canada have injured parties received what is rightfully theirs. All too often, big corporations utilize loopholes to protect their bottom line.

Train accidents in small towns and rural neighbourhoods

Railroad crossings in small towns and rural neighbourhoods are some of the biggest threats to the public. These sites are often neglected and are poorly maintained to the point where they lack critical safety components. Common defects include lights and gates, along with appropriate signage to warn both motorists and pedestrians of an oncoming train. In certain cases, small-town railroad crossings can be so poorly maintained that they become hidden by overgrown grass and trees.

If many train accidents are preventable, why do they keep happening?

It’s shocking that so many rail providers continue to be negligent despite experiencing tragic derailments that see a remarkable loss of life.

In 2013, a Quebec woman sued Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc. with the assistance of trial lawyers. She claimed Old Port was largely responsible for her injuries after an agent working had not cautioned the Quebec woman and her friends, to not cross between the train’s cars, after they had spoken to him. Eventually, she was awarded 90% of the damages she was seeking, even withstanding an appeal process [4].

Elsewhere, families of Lac-Mégantic victims received a $450 million settlement for wrongful death claims in 2015 [5]. The train that was owned by Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway was carrying crude oil from the United States when it derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic in July 2013, killing 47 people.

If you’ve experienced a serious public transit accident, turn to MG Law

Remember, MG Law’s experienced team of lawyers are capable of handling Ottawa public transit accidents. Should you be injured during the use of Ottawa’s public transit services, call 613-730-8460 to book a free consultation. Legal proceedings against public transit providers are complicated but far from impossible with MG Law by your side. Lean on the experience of our Ottawa law firm and begin your personal injury claim with us.


  1. https://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/stats/rail/2019/sser-ssro-2019.html
  2. https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2020/09/government-of-canada-highlights-the-launch-of-rail-safety-week-2020-and-underlines-recent-efforts-taken-to-improve-rail-safety-in-canada.html
  3. https://www.canada.ca/en/transportation-safety-board/news/2021/06/transportation-safety-board-of-canada-releases-2020-transportation-occurrences-statistics.html
  4. https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/old-port-loses-appeal-of-verdict-ordering-it-to-pay-woman-who-lost-legs
  5. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/10/08/lac-megantic-victims-close-to-receiving-part-of-450m-settlement.html

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