Where a train tracks cross a public road in Louisiana, the railroad has common law obligation to pedestrians and cars to not maintain a dangerous crossing and to operate trains at a reasonable rate of speed considering all existing circumstances. Sometimes accidents occur because the motor vehicle or pedestrian is not paying attention or fails to stop at the railroad crossing. However, the railroad is responsible for the accident if it has failed to comply with federal standards of care, its own safety standards or state law that does not directly conflict with federal regulation and that noncompliance caused the accident and resulting injuries. If the locomotive fails to properly sound its bell and whistle or horn, LA-R.S. 32:168 may serve as a basis of liability.
The railroad also has certain common law duties to keep a proper look out for obstructions at or near the crossing, to keep the crossing clear of obstructions so that a motorist can observe an approaching train, to not maintain a crossing where the bed of the railroad is higher than the road bed (“a humped crossing”), to adequately maintain the rails and that portion of the road that is on the railroads right-of way, and to maintain an adequate visibility triangle. Previous collisions at the crossing is notice to the railroad of potential problems at the crossing and potential railroad negligence.
In Louisiana there are between twenty and thirty injury crashes each year involving a train and between two and seven fatal crashes and numerous property damage crashes.
If you need help with your Louisiana railroad crossing accident, call Lavis Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorney at toll- free 866-558-9151 or submit your online form. Please keep in mind that you may be facing important legal deadlines.