Railroad Grade Crossing Accidents
There are over 200,000 places in the United States where roads cross railroad tracks at grade. Accidents between trains and vehicles at railroad grade crossing can be devastating to everyone involved.
Motor vehicle drivers and passengers are 40 times more likely to get killed in a railroad grade crossing accident than in a motor vehicle on motor vehicle accident. These crashes are sadly quite common- a train on car crash happens about every three hours in this country.
The crashes often happen because railroads have unguarded crossings without flashing lights or gates to warn drivers that a train is actually approaching. The lack of warning coupled with trees, brush, rocks or other obstructions can prevent seeing a train until it is too late. Because it can take a freight train going 50 mph over a mile to stop there is frequently nothing a train crew can do to avoid the crash if a car or truck driver does not see the train in time.
Steven L. Groves
Often it is crucial to gather evidence proving the condition of the crossing quickly, before trees, brush or other obstructions are removed or old signs are replaced. Locomotive engines often have cameras in them which record what happened and most are required to have event recorders which act like a plane’s black box and record throttle position, speed, braking, horn use, etc… It is important to ask the responsible railroad to preserve this and other evidence related to the crash. The law applicable to grade crossings varies from state to state and in certain circumstances federal law will “preempt” or supercede state law regarding grade crossings.
Groves Powers has represented numerous train crew members and motor vehicle drivers and passengers who were injured in crossing accidents in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas and other states.