Our firm handles cases involving a wide variety of accidents. Motor vehicle collisions can be serious, but they frequently do not result in fatalities because of the protection afforded by today’s cars and trucks. Motorcycle accidents and auto-pedestrian accidents tend to have higher death rates because the victims do not have any external protection to safeguard them from harm. But the type of accident that is most often fatal is the train-pedestrian accident. Because when a colossal train impacts a defenseless human, the results are inevitably tragic.
You may be asking: aren’t all train-pedestrian accidents the fault of the pedestrian? After all, the train is traveling in a predictable straight line and the pedestrian can easily see it, right?
That’s not altogether true. Obviously, trains are unable to swerve to avoid a person on the tracks. But train operators and municipalities are still responsible for taking certain measures to ensure that no pedestrians are struck by trains. A pedestrian (or, more likely, his or her surviving relatives) may have an actionable train-pedestrian claim if:
- A train conductor/operator did not sound the train’s horn to warn a pedestrian of the imminent danger.
- A train conductor/operator was distracted and did not attempt to stop for the pedestrian.
- A train was moving faster than the designated speed for the area in which the accident occurred.
- A municipality did not properly maintain or identify a railroad crossing.
- A municipality did not place appropriate warning signs or signals to alert pedestrians that the crossing point was unsafe.
In most train-pedestrian accident cases, the victim does bear at least some of the responsibility for his or her fate. But if it can be demonstrated that a municipality or train company was negligent in its duties to protect pedestrians, then a court may choose to award some damages to a plaintiff. Like most large entities, defendants in train-pedestrian accident cases do not want to be found negligent. Not only does such a judgment cost them money, but it also sets a judicial precedent which may result in similar judgments in the future. Therefore, these defendants will spare no expense in trying to show that the plaintiff was completely at fault in a train-pedestrian accident. For example, they may argue that the victim was distracted or negligent and attempted to cross the tracks despite the presence of warning signs or signals, or claim that the victim trespassed and was therefore fully liable for his or her demise. That’s why it is wise to engage the services of an experienced train accident attorney when taking legal action after a train-pedestrian accident. He or she has the skills and knowledge to deal with train companies and municipalities, and will fight to obtain every possible dollar to which you are entitled. Your train accident attorney will substantially increase the chances of a positive outcome when compared to trying to argue your case on your own.