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Train_Accidents

Kansas City Train Accident Attorney

The rate at which train crossing collisions occur is alarming. Grade crossing collisions are catastrophic, usually causing horrific injuries or death. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), once every two hours a train strikes a motor vehicle or pedestrian at a railroad crossing somewhere in the United States.

 

Common causes of railroad crossing accidents and grade crossing collisions involve negligent train operations and maintenance issues, including:

  • improper use of the train horn or train whistle;
  • failure to decelerate or brake the train to avoid a collision;
  • careless lookout for cars and motorists near the tracks;
  • sight-obstructive vegetation around the crossing;
  • poor design of the crossing;
  • inadequate warning devices;
  • deteriorating crossing surface; and
  • malfunctions of the lights or gates.

Regardless, the railroad companies, especially the Class I railroads, have a history of vigorously defending claims that they did anything wrong. They are notorious for improperly removing crossing cases to federal court and making blanket assertions of federal preemption and evidentiary privilege to frustrate discovery and stall the litigation process. Every set of discovery responses from the railroad, for example, is likely answered with form objections based on 23 U.S.C. 409 and discussions of Norfolk Southern Ry. Co. v. Shanklin, 529 U.S. 344 (2000). Litigation against the railroads is always difficult and expensive, requiring extensive motion practice, dozens of depositions and experts in railroading, human factors, audiology and traffic and safety engineering.

Grade Crossing Collision Lawyers

There are several parties to look at when discussing liability on a train accident case.

  1. Was the operator of the train acting responsibly and driving the train in a safe manner? The company owning the train may be also liable if they failed to train and ensure that their crews were responsible and maintaining acceptable speed limits, sounding the train horn on approach to railroad crossings and using the train brakes to avoid collisions or pedestrian strikes.
  2. What about the owner of the railroad track, which is usually the railroad company operating the train? It has a duty to maintain a safe grade crossing to the people who live around and use the railroad crossing.
  3. The owners of the properties adjacent to a grade crossing may have a duty to remove structures, brush or trees on their property that obstruct the view of approaching motorists and railroad train crews.
  4. The city or county may have some joint responsibility for installing and maintaining appropriate warning devices at railroad crossings.
  5. The manufacturers of the locomotive, the railroad cars, and the warning devices at a railroad grade crossing may also have some fault if the problem was an equipment malfunction such as a flashing light failure or a gate bobble.

Our attorneys are nationally recognized for their success in railroad crossing litigation. We possess a unique knowledge of the complicated aspects of state and federal law surrounding railroad litigation. We are trained in evaluating and using evidence particular to railroad litigation such as the locomotive data event recorder or black box and the Railview, LocoCam or Track Image Recorder ("TIR") locomotive video cameras.

$1,500,000 Train Crossing Collision

Illinois

$750,000 Train Pedestrian Collision

Indiana

$150,000 Train Pedestrian Collision

Missouri

$725,000 Train Crossing Collision

Illinois

$300,000 Train Pedestrian Collision

Missouri

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