Railroad Crossing Accidents: What You Need to Know
There have been a few horrific train accidents in the news in the past couple of weeks. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a train had collided with a tour bus, killing four and injuring 40 others. This week in Charlotte, North Carolina, a light rail train had hit a truck, killing the driver. What do these two accidents have in common? They both happened at railroad crossings.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 2,025 railway crossing accidents according to preliminary numbers from 2016. Of those accidents, 265 people died and 798 people were injured. Here in New Jersey, the numbers are fortunately not as high but still disturbing. There were 106 accidents in New Jersey in 2016; of those accidents, only three people died and nine were injured.
Why do rail crossing accidents occur? Here are a few common reasons:
- The train conductor negligence (going too fast, not paying attention, drowsiness, etc.)
- Maintenance issues (train issues, problems with the crossing gates, issues with the vehicle, etc.)
- Safety gate failure
- Problems with the tracks
So who is to blame in the case of a railroad crossing accident? It can be difficult to assign blame. Perhaps the car crossing the tracks had ignored the safety gate and the train could not stop in time. Or train conductor was more interested in texting than driving the train. Whatever case may be it’s important to know the right party is held accountable.
In a train conductor is negligent, then the fault can lie with both the conductor as well as the employer. If it’s the case of a New Jersey light rail accident, then it can get a little more difficult. The light rail is a public entity, meaning it is owned the state. In order to file a negligent claim against the NJ Transit, you must follow specific procedures and pay attention to the deadlines.
If you have been injured in a rail crossing accident, it’s important to get an attorney right away to help you with your case. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone for a free consultation.