By law, trains have a superior right-of-way to cars. Generally, cars must therefore yield to approaching trains, and this rule helps to determine responsibility for any accident at a crossing. However, the railroad has a greater duty at dangerous crossings, which are deemed extra-hazardous.
There is no one standard for extra-hazardous crossings. However, most states look for conditions that constitute a "dangerous trap". This definition is even used by some states which do not have the extra-hazardous crossing doctrine in their law.
The following factors can be important in deciding whether a crossing is extra-hazardous:
- Inadequate lighting
- Background noise
- Track curvature
- Bad weather at the time of the accident
- Location and frequency of use
- Physical obstructions of view
- Any other dangerous conditions known by the railroad
As these factors indicate, the railroad doesn't need to have created the hazard to be responsible. Also, hazard may depend on circumstances so that a crossing is extra-hazardous at some times and not at other times. A successful claim against a railroad for a hazard requires proof that the railroad knew or should have known that conditions at the crossing created an accident risk. If a crossing has been extra-hazardous for a long enough time, the railroad can be found negligent.
Contact a Kansas train accidents lawyer representing clients in Hiawatha, KS today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Railroads must take precautions to protect people at extra-hazardous crossings. Each crossing may require a different set of measures, but typical measures include the following:
- Crossing arms
- Extra lighting
- Removal of visual obstructions
- Warning alarms
- Ordering trains to slow at the crossing
While railroad safety precautions must ordinarily meet state and federal regulatory levels, the railroads must sometimes exceed those standards at extra-hazardous crossings. If you are injured at a rail crossing, contact a personal injury attorney with experience in railroad cases. The attorney should be able to examine the circumstances of the accident and advise you as to whether the crossing meets the requirements of the extra-hazardous crossing doctrine.
Kansas personal injury lawyer / attorney representing clients in Hiawatha, KS, locomotive injuries law firm - If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation regarding your personal injury case, please contact the Eschmann & Pringle, P.A at (800) 952-0566 or complete our inquiry form.