Railroad Crossing Accidents Lawyers
A collision between a car and a train is devastating. The weight and velocity of a train as compared to a car is almost incomprehensible, and the destruction and carnage of such an accident is simply overwhelming. It is amazing that anyone survives being hit by a train. Some do, and the injuries are nearly always catastrophic, typically including brain injury, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and crush injuries. Railroad crossing accident cases are far more complicated than your typical auto accident lawsuit, and often even more complicated than trucking or bus accidents. Railroads are subject to very unique federal regulations.
Amazingly, only about 20% of railroad crossings are protected by flashing lights and gates. Most people are unaware of your typical rural railroad crossing which has no more than a low visibility white X "R.R. Crossing" sign, sometimes accompanied by a stop sign, with none of the bells and whistles, and certainly no gates, which most of us associate with an oncoming train. Maybe we have been lulled into complacency by the big obtrusive railroad crossings found in high traffic areas, expecting more than adequate warning, but the fact remains - most railroad crossings are minimally marked and the results can be deadly. About 60% of train accidents occur at poorly marked railroad crossings
The incredible weight and velocity of trains mean that they cannot stop quickly to avoid an accident. Even if the engineer sees an obstacle in the road, or is warned of a car on the tracks, trains often need more than a mile to stop. Besides crossings that lack adequate lights and gates, railroad crossing accidents can be caused by:
- Defective signals or gates
- Trains parked too close to a crossing
- Crossings obstructed by plants and other objects
- Trains which fail to sound their horns when approaching crossings
- Trains that fail to use their lights when approaching crossings
- Objects protruding from the train
Some railroad crossing accidents are caused by negligent drivers. Most are not. Train engineers are sometimes responsible, but more often the railroad is responsible due to:
- Malfunctioning signals or equipment
- Failure to properly screen employees
- Failure to properly train employees
- Failure to properly monitor employees
Railroad crossing accident lawsuits are very complicated and can involve multiple responsible parties including:
- Railroad companies
- Equipment manufacturers
- Government entities
Gathering evidence for a railroad crossing lawsuit can also be very complicated. For instance, railroads are not required to report malfunctioning signals, so a history of a malfunctioning signal may be difficult to prove and the railroad will try to claim that the accident was caused by you, the driver, failing to heed to signal. If a government entity is involved strict time limits and different procedural requirements will apply. The railroads themselves are very formidable adversaries and you will also have to fight their insurance companies. You need an experienced railroad accident attorney on your side.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a railroad crossing accident, contact an experienced railroad accident attorney today.