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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are So Few Grade Crossings Protected By Flashers Or Gates?
The cost of a fully installed and operating set of flashing lights and crossing gates can run over $150,000 and that does not include the annual maintenance costs. By comparison, a crossbuck can be installed for around $1,000 with very little maintenance.

 

What Are The Railroad's Responsibilities In The Area Of Providing Grade Crossing Protection?
The final decision on the level of grade crossing protection to be provided is made subject to federal approval. Therefore, railroads are not usually held liable on the issue of the adequacy of such protection. However, railroads typically install and maintain the protective devices selected. So, they can be found liable when a grade crossing accident is found to have been caused in part or whole from improper installation and/or maintenance of those devices.

 

If I Am Injured While A Passenger On A Train Is The Railroad Liable?
The general rule is that a common carrier may be liable for personal injuries to passengers. A common carrier, such as railroad companies, is generally required to use the highest degree of care, diligence, and vigilance in the transport of its passengers to the appropriate destination.Generally, the carrier is responsible for injuries sustained by a passenger during transportation that could have been avoided if the carrier had used better care or diligence. Depending upon state law, if a personal injury occurs due to the carrier’s noncompliance with safety laws, the carrier may be found to have absolute liability for personal injuries. Also, a common carrier may have a duty to warn its passengers of dangers that exist in transport and that are known to the carrier.

 

What Are The Duties And Responsibilities Of A Train Crew As They Approach A Public Grade Crossing?
Railroads have a duty to provide due and timely warning to the general public when their trains approach a crossing. By federal law, all trains must be equipped with (and have on) headlights of a specified brightness and horns that produce a warning sound which meets a minimum loudness standard. State laws often specify that a horn must be sounded when approaching a crossing.

 

What Are The Duties And Responsibilities Of Motorists As They Approach A Public Grade Crossing?
The general requirement is that a motorist approaching a grade crossing, upon detecting an oncoming train, must stop no less than 15 feet from the nearest rail and wait until the train has cleared the crossing. If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Underwood Law Offices, Inc. at (304) 522-0508 or toll free 866-523-0499 or submit an online questionnaire. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.