Truck and train accidents are dangerous enough on their own—but when accidents involve both, they can be absolutely catastrophic.
It is not uncommon for accidents to occur at railroad crossings. One of the major factors contributing to these accidents is a vehicle that ignores the crossing arms and warning lights. When vehicles get impatient, they may attempt to pass the tracks before the train comes. This game of chicken commonly ends in disaster—especially when the vehicle is a truck.
Whenever a railway is intersected by a road, path, bridge, or tunnel, there must be a crossing grade ("railroad crossing"). In the United States, these grades must be clearly identified by traffic control devices such as signs and road paint.
The lowering of the warning gates takes about 5 to 10 seconds. It is during this window of time that drivers can get impatient and cross the tracks despite the warning signals and gate lowering. This can lead to catastrophic trucking accidents.
Examples of Truck & Railcar Collisions - In California, a train-on-truck collision occurred when the driver of a big rig smashed through railroad crossing arms and directly into two cars of an Amtrak train. 2 cars were derailed and as many as 50 passengers were injured. There were no fatalities and the driver was not intoxicated. Because of a head injury, the driver could not recall why the accident had occurred. Just hours later, a near identical accident occurred near the same stretch of railway. A common thread in almost all accident involving trains and commercial trucks is that the vehicles were to blame for not heeding the crossing signals.
Unfortunately, train accidents caused by commercial truck drivers will result only in a traffic infraction, which is a lesser charge than even a misdemeanor and typically only results in a small or moderate fine. This applies in cases where no one was killed in the accident and only if the driver tested clear of alcohol in their blood.
Those who are injured in accidents such as this may be able to file personal injury claims against the driver or their employer. This type of accident will warrant more trouble from the driver's employer than the law. Trucking companies typically run a tight ship when it comes to their drivers, because drivers with poor records increase a company's liability.
If you were injured in an accident such as this due to a negligent truck driver, then you can contact our firm. We frequently deals with the trucking industry and understand the issues that you may be facing. You may have been the passenger of a train, a bystander, or a passenger in a nearby vehicle. Whatever the case, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the accident. Even if the driver was not intoxicated at the time of the accident and even if no one was killed, victims still deserve to understand their legal rights so that they can be compensated for their medical costs and other expenses.
To learn more about your rights, contact our firm today!