Although trains are not as common a feature in the American West as they once were, they are still used to transport billions of dollars of goods across the country each year. As a result, there are a fair number of New Mexico train accidents that occur each year. Normally, these accidents occur at rural railroad crossings that may not have the lighted signs and electronic lowering gates that are present in more populated areas.
Due to the fact that trains have an immense amount of inertia, stopping a train that is traveling at full speed is not easily done. In fact, it can take upwards of a mile for a train to come to a complete stop. That being the case, when it comes to train safety, prevention is key because there is little that can be done to stop an imminent train accident other than the engineer sounding the horn.
Railroad companies are responsible for creating a safe network of railways, including intersections where train tracks cross a road. It is imperative that these intersections are well-marked and free from all vegetation and debris that may obscure a motorist’s view of the railroad. In a recent case, the court affirmed a jury verdict in excess of $10 million after a man was killed while driving across a set of railroad tracks.
Two men were driving on a rural road approaching a set of railroad tracks. The intersection where the tracks crossed the road was covered in vegetation, obscuring motorists’ view of the section of track on either side of the intersection. However, the intersection was marked with a “RAILROAD CROSSING” sign.
As the men approached the intersection, neither saw an oncoming train. However, a train was approaching and collided with the men’s car, killing the driver and seriously injuring the passenger.
The driver’s spouse filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the railroad company, arguing that it was liable for the death of her husband, based on the company’s failure to adequately mark the intersection and keep it free of vegetation. The plaintiff also argued that, according to the train’s data event recorder, the train’s horn was not sounded as it approached the intersection.
The case proceeded to a jury trial, and an award in favor of the plaintiff was returned in the amount of $10,731,921. The railroad company appealed on several issues, none of which was successful. Thus, the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff will stand.
Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Train Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a train accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated New Mexico truck accident and train accident lawyers at the Fine Law Firm have decades of experience assisting New Mexico accident victims with recovering compensation for the injuries they have sustained. To learn more, call 505-889-FINE to schedule a free consultation. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we are able to assist you in recovering for your injuries.
More Blog Posts:
New Mexico Court Affirms Plaintiff’s $164 Million Jury Verdict in Recent Truck Accident Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2018.
Hydroplaning in New Mexico: What is it and How Does it Occur?, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 18, 2018.