An Amtrak Train carrying over 70 passengers derailed in Michigan this week after colliding with a large truck that was stuck on its tracks. The accident sent 10 people to the hospital. This accident follows a string of recent Amtrak crashes over the past year, including two Louisiana Amtrak accidents that occurred in less than 24 hours last April.
In 2011 alone, there were over 10,000 train accidents in the United States. Many of these accidents occur at railroad crossings. Railroad crossings can be extremely dangerous junctures and often present challenging legal questions. As a common carrier, train operators are required by law to exercise a greater duty of care when operating the train. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to pinpoint the negligent actor in a railroad crossing accident.
Although a train operator might negligently travel at an excessive speed or operate the train while distracted, drivers can also cause railroad crossing accidents. Many times, drivers fatally choose to disobey the law and attempt to “beat the train.” Vehicles can also get stuck on poorly maintained tracks, once again opening the possibility of the train company’s liability. Lastly, under certain circumstances, a municipality can also be held legally responsible for an accident if the city fails to maintain appropriate signals at the railroad crossing.
If you or a loved one were injured in a railroad crossing accident, an experienced attorney can assist you in protecting your legal rights. For questions, contact Broussard, David & Moroux at 1-888-337-2323 (toll free) or 337-233-2323 (local).