Pedestrian Train Collisions Have Spiked to Record Pace
While the injuries caused by a collision between a train and a motor vehicle are typically devastating, the extent of the danger is much greater when the collision involves a pedestrian for whom such an incident is typically fatal. Although it may seem unlikely that a pedestrian would risk crossing train tracks, the number of pedestrian fatalities in train crashes in the U.S. has risen by 25 percent during the first three-quarters of 2013 according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). At the current pace, the number of pedestrians killed in train accidents will reach a level unseen in a decade based on data from the federal government.
While those walking on railroad tracks are classified as trespassers because railroad networks are often considered private property, this does not mean that pedestrians who suffer devastating injuries or wrongful death cannot seek compensation for their injuries or loss. Many times trains tracks will lack sufficient warnings and signals to put children on notice of an approaching train. In other situations, those operating the train may be distracted by a cell phone or may be intoxicated so that the train does not stop in time to avoid hitting an unsuspecting child pedestrian. When a train pedestrian collision occurs, the railroad company may be liable for injuries or wrongful death if the collision was the result of negligence in the operation or maintenance of the train or warning signals. The railroad may also be liable if there are insufficient warnings and signals indicating that a train is approaching though federal law does not impose very stringent requirements.
Many kids play on or near railroad tracks because they frequently cut through residential neighborhoods so kids cross the tracks while using popular shortcuts. The total number of pedestrians that die in train crashes has exceeded train crossing accident deaths every year since 1997 even though the number of railroad crossing have increased significantly.
The risk to those who cross train tracks often are ignored by government officials in cities and railroads despite a pattern of prior accidents at the well-known shortcut. While these accidents may be prevented by erecting a fence or other barrier to prevent pedestrians from getting too close to the railroad tracks in such areas, the city and railroad may fight over who should bear the expense of erecting safety measures.
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Because federal rules do not impose strict requirements on railroads to prevent pedestrian train crashes, they tend to do little to prevent such accidents beyond posting "no trespassing" signs. If you or someone you love has been involved in a pedestrian train accident in Georgia, our Atlanta Train Accident Lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.