RAILROAD CROSSING ACCIDENTS
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are approximately 150,000 railroad crossings in the United States. However, approximately 60% of those crossings do not have any type of active warning device (such as lights and gates) to notify the driver of an approaching train.
When an accident at a railroad crossing occurs, time is critical. Because the train crew works for the railroad, the railroad is the first to know of the accident and it is critical to document the accident scene. While accident victims are being treated by medical personnel, railroad employees may be cutting brush, moving the train and other obstructions, or otherwise altering evidence. Too often, police or highway patrol personnel are not trained to preserve electronic and other evidence in the train or other equipment at the crossing. General investigation photos of the scene usually focus more upon damage to the vehicle than upon the driver’s view as he approaches the crossing, condition and operability of equipment at the crossing, and other evidence in the possession of the railroad.
Railroad operations are governed by a series of complex internal rules and federal regulations. You need an attorney who is familiar with this law, railroad terms, and who knows what evidence is missing and how to recreate the scene if it has been altered by railroad employees.
The attorneys at Ludwig Law Firm have handled numerous cases involving accidents at railroad grade crossings, including a jury award in 2002 of over $30 million. The real facts are often different than they first appear. Few people intend to get hit by a train. If you or a loved one has been hit by a train at a railroad crossing, please contact us immediately so we can begin to document evidence, and learn what really happened.