I have some follow-up on a earlier blog post I wrote regarding a railroad crossing wrongful death verdict in which BNSF was being accused of misconduct. In short, a jury verdict was returned against the the railroad and in favor of the families of some teenagers who were killed in a railroad crossing accident.After the verdict was returned, the lawyers for the families sought sanctions against the railroad, claiming that the railroad had altered data downloaded from the crossing gate in the hours that followed the crash.The railroad is now trying to present new witnesses to the crash, some of whom have received “rewards” for their testimony as much as $10,000. None of these witnesses testified at trial.There are a few points to make regarding this railroad accident:1. The courts regard a jury trial as an enormous investment of society’s resources to resolve a dispute, and rarely disturb jury verdicts. Moreover, they are even more reluctant to disturb a jury verdict based on evidence that was not presented at the time of trial. Much of the time that personal injury lawyers spend working on a case before trial is spent doing investigation work like trying to find witnesses to accidents, and if the railroad could not find them before the trial, the court is not likely to disturb the verdict based on this “new” testimony.2. It is not clear from the news story how the railroad came up with these witnesses, but the trial has garnered extensive publicity, and the credibility of the witnesses who are being paid the reward is pretty suspect. 3. Railroads respond very quickly to any accident, especially railroad crossing accidents. You can be sure that within hours if not minutes of the train crash that the railroads had investigators and claims agents all over the scene. If there were witnesses to be had, the railroad probably would have found them. The fact that these people are coming forward later in return for a reward from the railroad begs all kinds of questions. One reason that people need to move quickly to hire an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer in the wake on an accident such as this is to put themselves on as equal ground as possible as the railroad, trucking company, or construction company in documenting the scene and locating witnesses.