A horrific accident between a sports utility vehicle and an Amtrak train claimed the life of a 58-year old Florida woman her two young grandsons, ages 8 and 10.
The grandmother was taking the boys to a Boy Scout camp when she failed to yield when turning left. That put her SUV right in the train’s path. The train struck the vehicle and propelled it along the tracks for about a half mile before it could stop.
None of the train’s 200 passengers were injured, but the fatalities to the three people in the SUV were obviously tragic. But, were they preventable?
The wildlife preserve where the accident happened is overgrown. There were signs indicating a railroad crossing, but it doesn’t appear that there were flashing lights or an automated warning that a train was coming. Witnesses say that a car entering the railroad crossing from the direction the SUV was traveling would be unable to see an oncoming train.
Investigations into this accident are ongoing, but train accidents involving motor vehicles often result in serious personal injury or wrongful death claims. Even if the driver of the vehicle made a mistake, it’s entirely possible that the train crossing wasn’t clearly marked or was outright hidden by the surrounding foliage. The train company or the state transit authorities may bear significant responsibility for an accident if they let the tracks become unsafe by not maintaining the area around it. If they knew that an area was prone to accidents because of prior incidents, they may have had a responsibility to erect a more obvious barrier and alert to the presence of an oncoming train.
If your loved one was killed or you were severely injured in a car accident with a train, find out more about your legal options.