Recent Federal Highway Administration statistics highlight the serious dangers of railroad crossings. According to those statistics, a motorist or pedestrian is hit every two hours. Under Missouri common law, a railroad has a duty to keep its crossing reasonably safe for the motoring public. A railroad can be liable for failing to evaluate crossings or install lights and automatic gates. Additionally, a railroad can be liable for inadequate sight lines at its crossings due to obstructions such as overgrown vegetation. Injury or death can occur at railroad crossings where the railroad company chooses not to install signals or crossing gates and unsuspecting drivers are unable to see an on-coming train in adequate time to clear the tracks, or when drivers are unable to hear the train because the train crew fails to exercise reasonable care to sound its horn. The Federal Railroad Administration maintains information and statistics on every public crossing in the United States.
For additional information about railroad safety visit the Railwatch website.
A signal malfunction at a railroad crossing is another hazardous condition that can cause serious injury or death. Although the railroad industry has a duty to maintain the signals/crossing gates on its tracks, railroad crossing signal malfunctions do occur for various reasons, and innocent automobile drivers and occupants can be injured or killed at no fault of their own.
In certain circumstances, under the law, victims or their family members have a valid claim against the railroad company to recover fair compensation for the harm caused to them.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a railroad crossing accident, and you would like to learn about your rights, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss your case.