The hazardous nature of a railroad crossing does not automatically make the railroad liable for injuries occurring there. For a railroad to be held legally responsible the crossing must be extremely hazardous and the company must have maintained it in a negligent way. Extra-hazardous crossings are those that cannot be used unless excessive safety measures are taken. In this article is a list of common factors that a Personal Injury Attorney in Beaver Dam WI with QBS Law S.C. Beaver Dam WI may use to determine liability in railroad crossing accidents.
Warning Device Adequacy
Generally, railroads do not have to provide safety devices if such features are not required by statute. However, foreseeable accidents may bring the need for gates and other safety features. For instance, crossings with obstructed views or heavy traffic can leave the railroad vulnerable to a negligence suit. If safety devices are not installed where legally required, the railroad could be found guilty of negligence per se. Here, the act is automatically considered negligent because it violates a statute.
Extent of Hazard
Liability sometimes depends on the severity of the railroad crossing’s hazard. Variables such as obstructions and weather will affect the degree of danger. For instance, buildings and shrubs obstructing the view of an oncoming train may indicate that the railroad has violated the duty of care. Some areas have laws requiring railroads to clear the right of way for a predetermined distance on each side of the crossing.
The Train Operator’s Care
The railroad crew and train operator must take reasonable steps to prevent injury to motorists using the crossing. A train approaching a railroad crossing is required to warn motorists, typically with a whistle or bell. Other factors managed by the crew, such as lookout, signals, lights and speed, can be used as evidence of a railroad’s negligence.
Should a Victim Contact a Lawyer if they are Injured in a Railroad Crossing Accident?
If a person is injured in an accident at a railroad crossing, a Personal Injury Attorney in Beaver Dam WI can help them recover for their injuries. The railroad may use a variety of potential defenses to protect themselves from liability, but a lawyer can protect clients’ rights and remedies while building a solid case.