How railroad negligence can lead to tragedy
The National Highway Safety Administration offers safety reminders for drivers at railroad crossings. Drivers should stop and look both ways at railroad crossings. Once drivers have entered the crossing, they should keep moving.
Also, when the railroad crossing gate is lowering drivers should stop at least 15 feet away from it and should not try to drive around it. They should wait for the gate to rise and all lights to stop flashing before crossing.
If the car stalls or stops in a railroad crossing, drivers should get out of the car and either call the phone number listed on the railroad sign or call 911 for help.
Railroad company negligence
Even when proper safety measures are taken at railroad crossings, however, accidents can happen because of the railroad company’s negligence.
Railroads are required to maintain, inspect and test trains, tracks and equipment. This includes ensuring that the railroad gate arm is operating correctly, the train warning system is working, and timing devices are accurate.
Railroads are also required to ensure that cargo is loaded properly and take precautions when carrying hazardous materials, such as chemicals.
When these steps aren’t taken, serious accidents can happen resulting in permanent harm to victims like brain and spinal cord injuries. The medical costs associated with these events can be significant.
Accident victims may be presented with a settlement offer from the railroad company. They may want to consult with an experienced attorney before accepting it, however, because it may not be sufficient to compensate them fully for their injuries.
An attorney can review the circumstances of the accident and suggest the best course of action for the person or family involved.