Grade crossings are notoriously dangerous places. Things can go wrong quickly if rules are not followed or there is a malfunction of a crossing. This week, a train and an SUV were involved in a Portsmouth railroad crossing wreck.
The accident occurred at about 2 a.m. on May 28. No injuries were reported.
Police said it appears the SUV driver was attempting to go around the stop bars on the track when the vehicle was hit by a slow-moving train at Frederick and Deep Creek Boulevards in Portsmouth.
Reports stated the driver of the SUV fled the wreck scene before police arrived, leaving the vehicle on the train tracks. Pictures from the scene showed a GMC SUV with front-end damage.
The Portsmouth railroad crossing wreck is just the latest crash on the tracks in Hampton Roads.
The fault for railroad crossing accidents can lie with the driver of a car, SUV, or truck or the railroad.
There are numerous grade crossings in Hampton Roads cities such as Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake and more rural parts of Suffolk.
Some have lights and barriers while others offer little protection to motorists against oncoming trains.
When a Railroad Company Can Be Held Liable for a Crossing Accident
Railroad companies and their contractors can be culpable in a number of circumstances. Some common examples of scenarios when a railroad may be sued for a crossing accident include:
When equipment like lights and barriers malfunctions;
When the foliage has not been trimmed and the line of sight is blocked;
When track is poorly maintained;
When a conductor fails to blow the train’s horn.
An experienced Virginia railroad crossing accident attorney can advise you of your rights if you are hurt on a grade crossing.
Nationally, some serious tragedies have occurred in recent grade crossing wrecks.
In 2015, six people lost their lives in a Metro-North Railroad crash just off the Taconic State Parkway in Valhalla in New York. The train derailed when it hit an SUV on the tracks.
The National Transportation Safety Board took more than two years to place their blame for the deadly train crash on the driver of the SUV who was killed by the impact.
The finding has not prevented 19 lawsuits that were filed in the wake of the crash from proceeding. The litigation was filed in Westchester County Court. None of them name the SUV driver as a defendant, but they do name Metro-North, Westchester County and Mount Pleasant, among others.
Lawyers for people killed and seriously injured argue the Metro-North engineer should have slowed down when he saw the SUV on the tracks. There was also criticism of the design of the grade crossing in the weeks and months after the wreck.
The railroad accident injury lawyers at Cooper Hurley represent people who were hurt on the railroads and families of those killed across the United States, be they passengers, railroad workers or drivers of vehicles involved in crossing wrecks. Call us today for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.