Railroad Crossing Accidents

Since the Industrial Revolution, trains have served as a symbol of unity and progression in America. Unfortunately, for the thousands who are involved in railroad crossing accidents, that image is somewhat tainted. The Federal Railroad Administration reported that Highway-Rail and Trespassing incidents account for nearly 95% of all railroad-related fatalities. A Highway-Rail incident is any form of collision between a train and a motor vehicle or pedestrian at a railroad crossing. Trespassing incidents are Highway-Rail collisions that occur at a location that is not a railroad crossing. These two forms of railway collision cause nearly 2200 injuries each year, nearly 800 of which prove to be fatal.

Unfortunately, railroad regulations are not as strict or demanding as they could be. The federal government allows most railroads the responsibility of regulating themselves. This creates an obvious conflict of interests, as no railroad would ever enforce regulation that would hinder their business and ongoing operations. The majority of "whistle-blowers" in the field of railroad safety and reform have been members of the media who investigate railroad safety violations. And a large range of violations have been uncovered over the years. From maintenance and assembly defects to inexperienced and understaffed employee rosters, many railroads have been looking after their own interests instead of dealing with the glaring safety violations that endanger the lives of all Americans. Most railroad companies would rather ignore safety violations, and save the money that it would cost to make sure that all trains, gates, and railroad crossings are properly equipped with all of today's safety regulations.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a railroad crossing collision, there are a number of things to keep in mind. If your vehicle was stopped at the proper distance from the train tracks, then chances are the railroad is responsible for the accident. There are a number of safety precautions that trains are supposed to take when approaching a railroad crossing. If you have been injured in a railroad crossing collision, chances are you are entitled to compensation. The railroad companies may be at fault and held liable for all damage and injuries that the collision may have caused. You may be able to receive compensation for medical and legal bills, as well as compensation for vehicle repairs or replacement. Compensation can also be received for any pain and suffering the accident may have caused you, and for the loss of earnings you suffered from your (or your loved one's) injuries. If you were involved in an accident that was the fault of a train owned and operated by the federal government, then you need to find a lawyer who is knowledgeable of your rights under the Tort Claims Acts, which were established so that people who were victims of wrongful acts, such as negligence, can sue the federal government. Before the passage of the Tort Claims Acts, the federal government was immune to such legal attacks, as they had the power to refuse a citizen the right to sue them. However, there are rules that must be followed when suing a train company owned by the government. Time restrictions may apply, and it is important that you find a lawyer who follows regulations and instructions to the letter.

If you or a loved one were involved in a railroad crossing accident, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Chances are, emergency crews and law enforcement personnel responded to the sight of the accident. It is important that you obtain copies of any and all records and reports filed dealing with your accident. A well organized portfolio of dated records, witness testimonies, and evidence will help to accelerate your case and strengthen your legal advantage. Thousands of railroad accidents occur every year, and the railroad companies themselves are doing very little to correct the numerous safety violations that exist. If you have been involved in a railroad crossing accident, you should waste no time in consulting a lawyer to handle your case. Your attorney could work to get compensation that you deserve. Wrongful death suits can be filed if you feel that your loved one's death was the fault of the railroad company or one of their employees. Finally, it is important that you refuse to talk about the details of your accident/injury with anyone and never sign a document related to your accident/injury without your lawyer present.