Articles Posted in Train Accidents

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For years, the residents of a South Florida community tried to convince government officials and railroad authorities to fix the dilapidated railroad crossing on Southwest 137th Avenue in Miami. They wrote e-mails. They left voice messages. They sent paper correspondence.

Now, all of their complaints have been gathered as part of at least two lawsuits filed after the deaths of two young men and the serious injury of another who were involved in a crash at the site.

The sole survivor of the crash, the front seat passenger, would later tell police his friend was speeding, became momentarily distracted and then struck a bump on the railroad track before losing control of the car. The backseat passenger, just 17-years-old, was thrown from the back seat. He lived long enough for his single mother and two sisters to say their good-byes at the hospital. Continue reading →

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A woman seriously injured when a train ran off a section of damaged train tracks and into her workplace will have to endure a second trial after a federal appeals court ruled the lower court had not made a proper finding of proximate cause.

In Harris v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., trial court granted summary judgment to plaintiff on the issue of defendant’s liability, and held a trial only on the issue of damages (denying her the right to seek punitive damages at the outset). Jurors awarded her nearly $3 million for her medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

It had been established the rail company had breached its duty of care in failing to properly inspect and repair that section of track.

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A middle-aged bicyclist is dead, following a Tri-Rail train accident in Fort Lauderdale. The accident happened as the bicyclist attempted to cross the tracks at NW 82nd Street at about 7 a.m., according to NBC Miami. According to Fort Lauderdale Police, the train was heading north and had just passed through the intersection when the bicyclist started to head westbound across the tracks. As the bicyclist was crossing the tracks in the median section of the road, the train coming from the other way slammed into him. The bicyclist was transported to North Broward Medical Center, where he died shortly before 10 a.m. The man is reportedly in his late 50s and is about 6 feet tall. Officials have yet to determine the man’s identity.

“The traffic control arms for the railway were in the down position, preventing vehicles from crossing the tracks,” Fort Lauderdale Police said.

Our Fort Lauderdale train accident lawyers cross over train tracks every week just like many other residents of the area. It’s important to be cautious and alert in these areas to help to avoid an accident. In 2009, there were more than 136,040 public at-grade crossings in the country. Luckily, more than 42,300 of the crossings have gates and another 22,040 have flashing warning lights. Also, more than 1,200 have bells, traffic signals and wigwags. These crossings have been the sites of more than 1,895 accidents since 2009. These incidents resulted in nearly 250 fatalities and another 710 injuries. In addition, there were another 430 people killed and 345 injured while they were trespassing on railroad property.

According to Operation Lifesaver, Florida is the second most dangerous state in the country for railroad crossing fatalities. In 2008, there were 25 railroad crossing fatalities in the Sunshine State. Illinois had the most railroad fatalities that year, with 26.

We’re taught from an early age to look left, right and back left again before crossing a street. How many of us do that with a railroad crossing? One would think it would be impossible to miss a large, oncoming train. But it does happen. Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians need to take a few seconds more to look both ways for an oncoming train. It’s a simple step that can save lives. It’s important to remember that a lot of railroad crossing don’t have the flashing warning lights or the caution gates.

In the last 10 years, there have been over 30,000 railroad crossing accidents that have killed over 3,600 people. There are nearly 350 million vehicles that cross over railroad tracks every day. About 50 percent of the collisions that occur at these crossings happen in areas with warning devices. It’s important to practice caution, because you are 40 times more likely to die in an accident with a train than in an accident with another motor vehicle.

In fact, someone dies every two hours in the U.S. at a railroad crossing.
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Many area residents rely on the Tri-Rail to get to where they need to be quickly, efficiently and safely. While this is usually what happens, tragedy recently struck. According to The Miami Herald, riders were brought to a screeching halt after the train slammed into a man who was crossing the tracks between NW 6th Street and Sunrise Boulevard around 7 a.m.

The pedestrian was killed in the Fort Lauderdale train accident. According to Deanna Garcia, a spokeswoman with the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department, the accident happened only because the man didn’t get across the tracks in time. Officials report the train attempted to make a safe stop well before the scene of the collision, but was unable to do so avoid the man.

Our Fort Lauderdale commuter rail accident lawyers understand that railroad crossings are a dangerous place for everyone, including passengers, pedestrians and motorists. The Tri-Rail system is a 72-mile track that runs parallel to Interstate 95 between West Palm Beach and Miami. It serves three major airports – Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Along these routes, there are nearly 20 stations. The South Florida train system not only serves as a convenient mode of transportation, but is also serves as a dangerous obstacle for drivers and pedestrians if you’re not careful. To help to keep travelers safe, our South Florida accident attorneys here to offer your some railroad crossing tips to help you to avoid a serious and potentially fatal railroad crossing accident.

Nationwide, a person or a vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours. The state of Florida ranks in as the 7th most dangerous place for fatal traffic accidents involving cars and trains. According to Federal Railroad Association (FRA) statistics, “highway-rail grade crossing collisions and pedestrian trespass on tracks together account for over 95% of all railroad fatalities.”

Railroad Crossing Safety Tips:

-Approach a railroad crossing with care, even when you don’t see an any signs of a train coming.

-Always be ready to stop for a train. When approaching train tracks, you should shut off your radio, take off your head phones, hang up the phone, roll down you windows, look and listen for a train coming.

-Always check right, left and right again for an oncoming train before crossing the tracks.

-If you see a train that is approaching, stay a minimum of 15 feet away from the tracks.

-Once you start to cross the tracks, keep going. Even if the warning lights start flashing and the warning gates start to go down.

-Remember that the cars of a train extend at least 3 feet beyond the rails. Keep yourself and your vehicle out of this area.

-Remember that trains appear to be approaching slower than they actually are.
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Florida has been ordered to improve safety at railroad crossings as the number of Florida train accidents ranks the state among the 10 worst in the nation, the Federal Railroad Administration reports.

The states targeted are Florida, Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. Nearly 4,200 crossing accidents occurred in those states from 2006-2008, or just over half of the railroad crossing accidents that occurred nationwide.

Florida railroad accidents killed 29 people in 2009. Nationwide, about 14,000 train accidents occur each year, claiming more than 875 lives and injuring about 10,000 motorists. Each year, Florida train accidents kill an average of 45 people and injure more than 200.

More than 100 accidents occur each year at Florida railroad crossings, according to federal statistics. And the Florida Highway Patrol reports those figures are much higher. The patrol reports almost 3,000 crossing accidents occurred in 2006, killing 362 people and seriously injuring 999.

Some states argued the mandate to target states with the most railroad crossing accidents did not take into account the number of crossings or the amount of traffic and that a better measure would have been to target state with the most accidents per-vehicle traveling through railroad crossing. The Railroad Administration rejected that approach.

The states must submit a plan by August 2011, detailing how problems will be identified and solved at crossings. Solutions could include adding lights to crossings with gates, closing crossings, or building bridges over tracks.
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