Train Accidents Involving Cars

by | May 4, 2023

You would think motor vehicles getting struck by trains would not be a common occurrence these days, but they still happen more often than you would think. 

Obviously, a train hitting a car at high speed usually ends in the death of the vehicle’s occupants. Slower moving trains can result in the survival of the car occupants.

Wrongful Death in Train versus Car Accident

We had a terrible train accident case involving an automobile driver several years ago where a freight train traveling at 70 MPH hit a car at a crossing that did not have any flashing lights or crossing bar. 

The crossing had only a stop sign for vehicle traffic. 

The cause of our young mother crossing in front of the train was that another train was sitting still on the tracks in front of the oncoming train, thus blocking any view of the speeding train until it was too late. Apparently, that speeding train also neglected to blow its train horn to warn this young lady.

This poor lady was killed instantly in a collision that destroyed her car and left it unrecognizable. She left behind her husband and a teenage child. The case resulted in a settlement from the train company parked on the tracks blocking her view for $1,800,000, split between the husband and the child.

Here are some statistics from the last three years as reported by Operation Lifesaver:

Train Accidents in 2022

  • Collisions – 2184
  • Fatalities – 274
  • Injuries – 774

Train Accidents in 2021

  • Collision – 2147
  • Fatalities – 234
  • Injuries – 680

Train Accidents in 2020

  • Collisions – 1902
  • Fatalities – 195
  • Injuries – 697

Another case we handled was a slow-moving train at a crossing where the crossing bar failed to operate properly. Fortunately, this train was moving very slowly, and our client only suffered minor injuries, though her car was totaled.

Causes of Train Versus Car Accidents are Many

Railroad accidents due to negligence can be blamed on different parties. It could be the fault of the railway company, or it may be because a conductor or railroad employee was negligent. Some accidents are the government’s fault. An equipment manufacturer can be a possible cause of the collision too.

One example of railway negligence is when a crossing arm is operating incorrectly. Another mistake is if the operator fails to turn on the signal light.

Outdated Technology Leads To Accidents

Many crossings have outdated technology, and better technology is available to improve railway safety, but at considerable costs.

For example, all Class I main lines that handle either hazardous materials or passenger trains were required by Congress to implement a system of train control technology called Positive Train Control (PTC) by the end of 2018. 

PTC aims to prevent many types of train accidents, such as collisions between trains, grade crossing accidents, and train derailments due to high speeds. 

The problem is that an estimated two-thirds of U.S. commuter railroads failed to meet the deadline, and PTC is only in operation on 45% of tracks owned by freight railroads and 24% of tracks owned by passenger railways.

Many of these train accidents involve technical issues to prove negligence on the part of someone besides the car driver. 

Hire an Indiana Train Accidents Attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in a train versus car accident, then you need an attorney with knowledge of these kinds of cases to lead you through all the things that need to be considered to prove the case against someone other than the car driver. 

Call Garrison Law Firm so we can investigate your potential case to find the proper liable party and its insurance carrier.  

Call us today at 317-842-8283.