Crossing Guard Or Warning Negligence
All crossings along public roadways are maintained by the railroad. That means the portion of the public between tracks and the cross ties on each side of the tracks is considered the railroad’s responsibility. Although there’s no specific legal definition of what constitutes obstructions at the sides of crossings, trackside vegetation, improvements and other visual distractions cannot interfere with the crew’s ability to run the train – or the public’s ability to see one coming.
Digging a ditch, repairing a portion of track, clearing brush, constructing new siding –even if by an agent of the railroad — may be considered a liability over which the railroad maintained responsibility. Any and all work done on a line must be completed with safety of motorists and the general public in mind.
The railroad also has a responsibility to maintain overpasses, underpasses and low clearance areas of other vehicles. So, in cases where a sharp hump exists in the crossing that can affect a trucker, signage at the crossing is required.
As for crossing lights and gates, it is typically a state agency that oversees train guards, but they’re typically then overseen by federal regulations. If federal funds are at all used in the installation of the devices, the railroads are then compelled to follow exact federal specifications. And if there is an accident, those regulation will be front-and-center. And even if the crossing protection was working properly, the railroad has a duty to maintain the gates.
And even in the case of crossing across private land, they are still deemed to be public crossings. So even though gates are not always required, the railroad often still has a liability should there be an accident. And should another individual work on the track without railroad supervision so that it interferes with safety, the railroad is still liable.
The causes of failure and the types of railroad negligence vary. Having an attorney with a focus in railroad litigation is critical in providing you the opportunity to get the financial compensation you deserve. The Doan Law Firm can assist in determining damages owed you for a railroad accident. The Doan Law Firm knows that train accidents don’t wait for daylight hours to happen. So we’re available to answer your phone call any time, day or night, at (800) 349-0000.
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