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