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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    Historical accidents: Railroad Spine

    In spite of being one of the 19th century’s major technological achievements, railroad travel quickly dropped in popularity when railroad accidents resulted in serious injuries, such as railroad spine, some of which were fatal.

    A fairly frequent occurrence, injuries caused by railroad collisions were exacerbated by the fact that flimsy wooden railway cars offered little to no protection to occupants.

    Public alarm

    In 1866, public alarm concerning railroad travel intensified after John Eric Erichsen, a noted British surgeon, described a somewhat peculiar, spinal concussion-like progressive spinal disorder that was a frequent consequence of railway accidents.

    Railroad spine soon became the diagnosis for the varying post traumatic symptoms of passengers injured in railroad accidents.

    The debate

    While other British, Austrian, French and German scholars hotly debated the nature of railroad spine symptoms, Erichsen conducted and published a full length study in his classic work On Railway and Other Injuries of the Nervous System, which is why this condition is also often referred to as Erichsen’s Disease.

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    The observation

    During his observations, Erichsen noted that individuals sitting in railway cars with their back to the acceleration were most likely to suffer injuries during railway crashes, an injury mechanism that is also found in whiplash injuries.

    More protection, fewer accidents

    Thankfully, railway accidents are now far less frequent, and health and safety requirements mean passengers enjoy much better protection against personal injuries in case something does go wrong. Today, it is actually far more likely to be injured in a road traffic accident than suffering an injury while travelling by rail.

    Past and present claims

    Many claims made for injuries in train crashes were rejected as fake by 19th-century railroads, as there was no obvious evidence to prove that a person was suffering from railroad spine.

    Fortunately, car accidents, airplane and railway accidents are now known as possible causes, not only of physical trauma, but also of post traumatic stress disorder and varying other psychosomatic symptoms.

    Making claims

    If you were injured as a passenger in a traffic, rail or plane crash, you may qualify for passenger or travel injury compensation.

    At Accident Advice Helpline, we boast over 15 years’ experience in handling claims like yours. Our law firm operates on a 100 per cent no-win no-fee* basis, so you will not even have to worry about funding a claim until the claim is settled.

    You can get more information and helpful advice about claiming for compensation by calling one of our advisers via Accident Advice Helpline’s freephone number on 0800 689 0500.

    Date Published: March 2, 2015

    Author: Accident Advice


    Accident Advice Helpline (or AAH) is a trading style of Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited. Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 142 8192 16, registered office Dempster Building, Atlantic Way, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, L3 4UU and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Disclaimer: This website contains content contributed by third parties, therefore any opinions, comments or other information expressed on this site that do not relate to the business of AAHDL or its associated companies should be understood as neither being held or endorsed by this business.

    No-Win No-Fee: *Subject to insurance costs. Fee payable if case not pursued at client's request.