Truck vs. Train Accidents
Trucks and trains are powerful modes of freight and cargo transportation. Both often carry thousands of tons and move in high speeds. When a truck collides with a train, the damage can be catastrophic and the resulting injuries severe. These collisions often occur in highway grade crossings, and the motor carrier and train companies often pin responsibility on each other.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), from 2010 to 2012, accidents involving trains and tractor-trailers at highway grade crossings occurred over 300 times per year. This accounts for nearly 16.2 percent of all accidents at highway rail grade crossings, which in total resulted in 250 fatalities within that period. Each of these types of accidents are extensively investigated by the FRA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
If you are a rail worker or train passenger who has suffered injuries because of a truck-train accident, you should speak with an experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer immediately to help you obtain fair compensation. The responsibility for an accident often lies with a driver who committed an error in judgment. These collisions can be fatal, and if your loved one died because of a truck-train collision, you need a compassionate advocate by your side in determining whether to seek a wrongful death claim.
If you survived such an accident, you are probably facing extensive medical treatment and require significant recovery time. This means medical bills will continue to increase and you will need time away from work to recover and/or rehabilitate properly. You may even suffer long-term disabilities that permanently take away your ability to earn a living, pain and suffering, and put an emotional and financial burden on your family.
Determining liability in these accidents is complex and requires extensive investigation. Our compassionate attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. will listen to your case, evaluate the evidence that supports your claim, and help you decide the best course of action. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Truck Driver Responsibility
Many experts agree that the initial line of defense against truck-train collisions are often truck drivers. Trucks have much more flexibility when in motion as opposed to trains, which are directionally limited by the railroad. However, due to driver errors caused by fatigue or flawed judgment, trucks often cross tracks but then find that they don’t have sufficient clearance. A driver’s failure to pay close attention or lack of knowledge regarding the length of his or her trailer may often result in these serious truck-train collisions. Truck drivers should go through proper training to know how to safely approach a grade crossing.
FMCSA’s Safety Clearance Regulations
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry, has recognized that rail crossing safety is an issue that often involves commercial trucks. There are over 250,000 crossings in the U.S., and around 500 highway-rail grade crossing incidents involve trucks or tractor-trailers per year. This equals to about 10 incidents a week, and often the results are severe injuries and even fatalities. The FMCSA has issued regulations prohibiting commercial truck drivers from entering a highway-rail grade crossing if there isn’t enough space to clear the crossing without stopping. The rule requires trucking companies to communicate problematic routes to help truck drivers avoid the crossings at issue, use smaller motor vehicles at the crossings, or ensure that the railroad company is informed ahead of the planned crossing time and is provided an opportunity to inform train crews.
Violation of the rule can result in civil penalties of up to $2,750 for drivers and $11,000 to trucking companies who allow or require truck drivers to drive through a rail crossing without sufficient clearance. Additionally, truck drivers convicted of violating traffic laws concerning enough clearance for crossings are disqualified from driving commercial vehicles for 60 days for a first offense, 120 days for a second offense in a 3-year period, and 1 year for a third offense in a 3-year period.
Contact Our Chicago Truck Accident Attorneys
A large truck accident is often a devastating event that causes severe or even fatal injuries. When a truck collides with a train, the risk for damage and injury becomes greater. Truck drivers have a responsibility to drive in a manner that minimizes the potential for a train collision, since they have the first opportunity to avoid such crashes.
If you have been injured in a truck-train accident, you need an experienced injury attorney who will help you navigate the complex process of filing a claim against liable parties. This includes gathering evidence and determining who is actually liable for your injuries. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our truck injury lawyers have extensive experience in helping people with their truck accident claims. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free initial case evaluation.