Five people were killed when their van was hit by a train. According to the Colorado State Patrol, the driver of the van failed to yield the right of way to the train. The van was not stopped on the tracks. The driver and four passengers were killed, including three children. A fourth child was airlifted to the hospital in serious condition. No train crew members of passengers were injured. The family was on their way to church at the time of the crash.
There has been six accidents between trains and vehicles at the same crossing since 1986, according to Federal Railroad Administration records. In July 2010, a 55-year-old man was killed and in October of the same year, two people were injured at the crossing when the drivers attempted to cross the tracks.
The rural crossing is marked by just four crossbuck signs, although it was identified back in late 2013 as part of a railroad improvement project to receive flashers, gates and a warning system. The proposal is still waiting approval from the state Public Utilities Commission.
Although the driver failed to yield, a railroad has a duty to keep its crossing reasonably safe. A railroad can be liable for failing to make sure adequate signage was posted, failing to evaluate crossings or install lights and automatic gates, or if there are inadequate sight lines at its crossings.
Injury or death can occur at railroad crossings where the railroad company chooses not to install signals or crossing gates and unsuspecting drivers are unable to see an on-coming train in adequate time to clear the tracks, or when drivers are unable to hear the train because the train crew fails to exercise reasonable care to sound its horn. Holding the railroad accountable, not only compensates victims for damages, but allows the problem to become publicly known so that hopefully changes will be made and lives saved.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a railroad crossing accident, and you would like to learn about your rights, contact an experienced attorney. If it is determined you have a valid claim, but you are finding it difficult to make ends meet, contact Lawsuit Financial.
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