Here in Virginia, drivers may come upon a coal train slowly making its way along, pulling dozens upon dozens of cars. You often see Amtrak trains as well, which flash by in seconds. Trains are fun to watch, but they command respect. According to experts at the Federal Railroad Administration, trains strike a person or vehicle nearly every three hours across the country.
You may have been injured in a railroad crossing accident, and you have reason to feel that you were not to blame. Do you have a case against the railroad company?
Raising railroad accident awareness
Although trespassers account for many railroad-related deaths annually, researchers attributed an increase in fatalities in 2015 to a rise in the number of drivers and pedestrians who were struck at crossings. The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched a new ad campaign with commercials that highlight crossing accidents. Entitled “Stop! Trains Can’t,” the campaign targets male drivers between the ages of 18 and 49, a group that makes up 75 percent of the crossing accident statistics. But while it is true that trains usually cannot stop in time to avoid a collision with anything on the tracks, is an accident always the other guy’s fault?
Trains and warnings
In terms of railroad company responsibility, reasonable care must be exercised at crossings. For example, federal regulations require trains to run at certain speeds and to use their whistles or horns. In addition to warnings from the oncoming train, proper signals must be in place. These will usually be electronically activated flashing lights, but there are also the “x”-shaped crossbuck signs at some crossings that cannot warn of an approaching train.
Seeking legal help
If your accident was the result of negligence on the part of the train crew, a signal malfunction or other crossing issue, reach out for legal assistance. An attorney experienced with cases involving railroad crossing accidents is standing by to help.