After an accident at a railroad crossing, it is easy to blame the railroad company because the public usually goes after big corporations. However, this does not mean that the railroad company will always be responsible for such accidents. Other liable parties may be the driver who was crossing the area, the company operating the train or even the local county. However, there are also situations in which the railroad company may be held liable such as:
Absence of Safety Devices
Depending on your state's laws, the railroad company may be required to provide adequate safety devices, such as gates, at the crossings. Obviously, they would be liable for an accident that occurred at a crossing due to the absence of such devices.
However, it is also possible for the company to be held liable due to the absence of safety or warning devices even if the law doesn't expressly require their installation. This is based on the doctrine of foreseeable injuries that requires the potentially liable party to take reasonable steps to prevent the accidents. For example, a railroad company should know that a crossing with heavy traffic is dangerous and provide the necessary safety measures.
Negligent Train Crew
The railroad company may also be held liable for an accident stemming from the negligent acts of its crew members. As you know, the train operators must take reasonable care to avoid collisions at the railroad crossing even with the presence of safety installations. For example, they are expected to sound bells or whistles when approaching crossings, and will be held liable for an accident that occurs because they did not give the warning. The same might be true if the train approached the crossing at a speed higher than that stipulated by the Federal Railroad Administration, which sets the maximum speed.
Failure to Remove Hazards
In some jurisdictions, it is the railroad company's responsibility to keep their tracks and crossings free from hazards that may lead to accidents. For example, the company is expected to clear bushes that may obstruct the view of oncoming train operators. If such an obstruction exists and leads to an accident, then the railroad company will be held liable for it.
Therefore, if you are injured in a railroad crossing accident, do not automatically send you're your claim to the person you think is reliable or most likely to pay. You need to have your claim sent to the right party if you are to get any compensation. It is best to consult a lawyer and send your claim to the right party the first time so that you don't waste precious time with other innocent parties. Don't forget that there may be a statute of limitations on your injury, so it is important not to waste time. For more information, visit http://caminezlaw.net.Share