It is never worth sidestepping a train in order to get to the other side of the tracks. One Friday afternoon, this set of circumstances occurred when a “driver tried to bypass a stalled train” in Madera County, California. Three male employees of a nearby farming business were involved. The young men were in a white pickup truck and in their twenties and thirties. Apparently, this accident occurred on their work premises between Road 33 and Avenue 9.
Since a train was stalled on the tracks, the driver may have assumed the misguided impression that no other trains were active. Consequently, the driver tried to get across the tracks through a different opening. It is unlikely that he stopped and looked to see if the tracks on both sides were clear before crossing over. In doing so, the driver neglected to observe a train that was coming his way at approximately seventy-nine miles per hour.
The train and vehicle smashed together and the vehicle was tossed by the impact. The collision was so serious that the car split into three parts and debris flung approximately sixty yards from the site. The transmission was destroyed and the engine was also thrown a far distance. Tragically, all three men died as a result of the accident. Highway Patrol investigated the accident and confirmed that the driver “drove north to find an alternate crossing” just prior to the violent catastrophe. Alarmingly, this was only one of three train accidents which occurred in Madera County within a period of one year.
Do these individuals have any recourse under the law despite their contributory fault? Does the employer hold any liability since the accident occurred on work premises? Was a physical obstruction blocking the driver’s view? Were the tracks guarded? Is Amtrak liable? These are all complex questions that a licensed attorney can help answer. In some accidents, and depending on what state the accident occurs in, both parties could be found at fault. Therefore, certain awards may be diminished.
If you were injured in a collision with a train in Northern or Southern California, the law firm of J&Y can help you obtain compensation.