How Dangerous Are Railroad Crossings for Car Accidents?

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Railroad crossings can be seriously dangerous for motorists that are not aware they are driving through a crossing. While it is important to pay attention to all the signals at a railroad crossing, in some cases, these signals may not be enough to notify a driver of an oncoming train. If you or a family member was a victim of a train accident, contact an experienced Philadelphia railroad crossing accident lawyer. The Reiff Law Firm is capable of providing you with the legal representation that you deserve to litigate your potential injury case. Our firm is here to explain the dangers of railroad crossings when discussing car accidents.

Railroad Crossing Injury Statistics

If you have operated a vehicle in Philadelphia or throughout the State of Pennsylvania, you can attest to the numerous amounts of railroad crossings present within the state. You have also likely observed motorists driving around railroad crossings because the gates of the crossing are taking too long to lift. However, dangerous maneuvers like this could result in a serious injury or death as evidenced by a similar accident that occurred in Lansdowne in April 2019.

According to the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), there has only been one collision at a railroad crossing this year. However, SEPTA noted that in 2018, there were four railroad crossing accidents. One of these crashes resulted in a fatality. If you look at statistics for SEPTA railroad crossing accidents in the past five years, you will discover that there were ten crashes and three deaths.

The Federal Railroad Administration states that on a nationwide scale, 2018 had 2,214 railroad accidents. Out of these 2,214 accidents, there were 263 deaths.

Due to the unreasonable number of deaths that occur at railroad crossings, there has been a push to increase the safeguards surrounding railroad crossings. For example, there have been talks for increasing the number of warnings on navigation applications like Google Maps and Waze.

To learn more about the common causes of railroad accidents and filing a lawsuit after a train collision, continue reading and contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney.

Common Causes of Car Accidents on Railroad Crossings

A railroad car accident can be the result of a number of factors. There are typically a few safeguards in place to alert a driver to the existence of a railroad crossing. For example, gates, flashing lights, traffic signs, and color-coded paint are some of the methods used to notify a driver of a railroad crossing. Even with these safeguards, accidents may occur for one of the following reasons:

  • Speeding through tracks before a gate closes
  • Going around tracks when there appears to be no train incoming
  • Insufficient notice of a train station (e.g., no signs or lights)
  • Driver failing to be attentive

Despite the existence of some safeguards to prevent a railroad accident, there are still some railroad crossings that may not do enough to alert drivers of a crossing. The existence or nonexistence of these safeguards can be used to determine who can be held liable for an accident at a railroad crossing.

Filing a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you were injured in a railroad accident or your loved one died in a railroad accident, you should consider filing a lawsuit to handle your case. Personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits are subject to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines the amount of time that a person has to file a particular type of lawsuit.

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the injury. Wrongful death lawsuits also have a two-year filing deadline. If the lawsuit is not filed within the allotted timeframe, the court could bar the plaintiff’s claim. Note, however, that there could be a way to extend the statute of limitations deadline depending on the circumstances of your case.

It is also important to note that wrongful death lawsuits can only be filed by certain members of the deceased’s family. For example, an estranged cousin may not be permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you believe that SEPTA is responsible for your injuries or the death of a loved one, you should speak with us immediately. Our firm can help you explore your legal options after evaluating your potential claim. We are not intimidated by fighting for our clients against large corporations that may not place enough value on the safety of others.

Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Railroad Accident Attorney You Can Trust

If your loved one was killed in a car accident involving a train or railroad crossing, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia wrongful death attorney today. The injury attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm possess decades of combined legal experience litigating a variety of complex accident cases, and we are prepared to fight for you. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000.

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