Railroad crossings caused the largest number of fatalities in the railroad industry. State and local laws govern the requirements for crossing markings, but railroad companies are responsible for ensuring the markings are correct, clear, and safe. If you or a loved one has been injured in a grade crossing accident, contact the Baltimore accident attorneys at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy.
Each train has specific safety requirements for which it must adhere. The law requires all trains in the United States to have headlights of a certain brightness, a functioning bell, and a whistle or horn that can make a noise at a standard minimum volume.
When a train is approaching a crossing, it must raise its headlights to the brightest setting, sound the horn, and ring the bell one-quarter mile from the crossing and continue until it passes through the intersection.
A railroad company must follow certain duties regarding the people who operate its trains to ensure their safety. These duties include:
If the company in charge of operating the train disregards any of these duties and it causes an accident, it is likely liable and you can file a suit.
It is common for trains to travel on tracks that belong to a different company. In an accident, it is important to differentiate liability between the train itself and the tracks. The company that owns the train tracks must properly install and maintain the lights and gates at the crossing and ensure no obstructions could affect a car’s ability to see the train coming.
The designer of the train could also be responsible for the motor vehicle accident if the train itself malfunctions in some way. Warning whistles, bells, and horns, flashing headlights and warning lights, brake systems, coupling mechanisms between freight cars, and the crew communication system could potentially malfunction.
Fault often lies with the workers associated with the train, the local county, or an automobile driver. The county is in charge of maintaining the state of the roadbed through the crossing. Depending on the circumstances, a poorly maintained roadbed could make the county responsible. Automobile drivers are liable if they ignore the warning signals. For example, if a driver believes he or she can make it through before the train arrives and swerves around the crossing leading to a collision, the driver is then liable.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a grade crossing accident and believe that another party is responsible, you may be eligible to file a claim. You need a determined and aggressive attorney to help you. Contact the Murphy, Falcon & Murphy to receive experienced guidance and representation in your effort to win the compensation that you deserve.