Who is at Fault in a Train Accident Involving a Vehicle?
Nothing good can come when a car tries to beat a train across the tracks. This past weekend, an Elizabeth driver thought his Scion could outrun a light rail train. He learned otherwise when the train crashed into his car. The accident occurred near the Liberty State Park station in Jersey City. Miraculously, the driver and passenger did not suffer personal injuries in the incident. The Scion was destroyed and the motor vehicle operator was issued a ticket for careless driving. A few of the train’s passengers reported injuries. The risk did not outweigh the outcome.
Operation Lifesaver is an organization designed to encourage rail safety. They cite some alarming statistics concerning accidents involving pedestrians or cars with trains. On a national basis, trains hit pedestrians or vehicles every three hours. In 2013 alone, there were 2,087 accidents related to rail crashes with cars passing over the tracks. Surprisingly, only a small percentage resulted in fatalities. Many of the incidents involved some degree of personal injury.
In New Jersey, there are three light rail systems run by New Jersey Transit. Saturday’s accident occurred on the Hudson-Bergen line. The automobile driver clearly had some liability for this incident. Did the operator of the light rail also have some culpability? Was there anything wrong with the train itself? What about the tracks themselves? Were they properly maintained? Were gates and lights properly working? All of these factors can only be determined after an investigation. Among other things, this might involve interviewing witnesses and searching for surveillance video.
Since New Jersey Transit is a public entity, it is important to put them on notice immediately. The tracks may be operated by another company. It is therefore important to evaluate the entire situation and determine all culpable parties. A law firm such as the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is familiar with the procedures in pursuing cases against public entities and other parties. If you have been injured in an accident involving a public entity or other party, please contact us to schedule an appointment.