Trains and car aren’t often involved in collisions, but when they are, the consequences are often severe. Last week a Tri-Rail train struck a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta which was stuck on the tracks at the Commercial Boulevard and Interstate 95 crossing site in Overland Park. Although no one was fatally harmed during the crash, the train caught fire and 11 of the 275 passengers were injured, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
In recent years, apparently this particular crossing location is a familiar site where Florida train crash victims have died in a train-automobile collision. Despite safety improvement features at the crossing in recent years, in the past two years at least two people have been killed after the driver stopped on the tracks. Also alarming is the Orlando Sentinel’s report on the data retrieved from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which disclosed that out of the 170 train accidents which occurred in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties during the period 2005 – August 2011, nearly half, or 80 occurred on the Tri-Rail tracks.
Florida railroad safety is a major concern of the FRA, since the state has some of the highest numbers of train accidents which occur in the country. In 2010, the agency required the state to submit plans by August 2011 to reduce the number of accidents and to implement those plans within five years, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Since the accident occurred at a crossing there are many questions regarding liability for the injuries the passengers sustained during the crash. Seemingly, Tri-Rail has undertaken methods to caution drivers about potential dangers at the crossing. The railway company has installed gates, flashing lights and posted warning signs at various spots at the crossing. However, Tri-Rail employees say that gates are not installed east of the crossing so that stuck drivers could exit the tracks. Depending upon the factual circumstances involved this particular incident, Tri-Rail or the driver of the vehicle could be determined negligent and held liable in a Florida personal injury lawsuit.
An investigation is still on-going as it is not yet clear how the Volkswagen became stuck on the tracks. Investigators are more than likely reviewing witness’s accounts of the events to determine whether or not impaired driving, safety violations, speeding or other forms of negligence were factors in this Overland Park train crash. There are many reasons why train accidents occur, however, common causes include conductor negligence, collisions with another train, mechanical defects, poorly maintained railway conditions, derailments and collisions with motor vehicles. Similar to other negligent causes of actions, the injured passengers would have to prove in Court that Tri-Rail, the vehicle driver, or other parties failed to exercise the reasonable care which they were owed under the circumstances and as a result caused the injuries they sustained during the crash.
Train accident law is very complicated as there may be multiple legal issues and parties involved. Nonetheless, an Overland Park injury lawyer can help with identifying the cause, including any negligence or mechanical failures, and responsible party. If you were one of the passengers on the Tri-Rail line on the day of the incident and were injured, or you or a family member have been injured in a related train crash, you should seek the advice of a Florida personal injury attorney immediately who can advise you of any legal claims you may be entitled to.
See Our Related Blog Posts: