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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Richmond Train Crossing Collision Lawyer

Richmond Train Crossing Collision Lawyers

Although you might think that car accidents at railroad crossings are rare, they happen every day. In one recent year, there were 2,216 collisions at train crossings in the U.S., resulting in 807 severe injuries and 293 deaths. That same year, Virginia reported 32 train crossing accidents, leading to eight fatalities and 14 serious injuries. Fifteen percent of those incidents occurred in Richmond.

The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Latham & Martin take the safety of our community seriously. Train crossing collisions present a grave risk, leading to devastating accidents and severe injuries. These incidents are nearly always complex events requiring the intervention of agencies like the National Transportation Safety Board to conduct a thorough investigation and determine how and why the accident happened. If you were injured in a crash at a railroad crossing in Henrico, Hanover or Chesterfield County, or if you lost a loved one in a tragic impact that could have and should have been avoided, contact our skilled and compassionate Richmond train crossing collision lawyers for immediate help.

A Look at Rail Crossings in Virginia and Richmond

Rail continues to be an essential means of moving materials across the country, and trains and tracks are everywhere in Virginia. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), a total of 3,037 miles of rail lines crisscross the state, with a staggering number of 9,049 highway-rail crossings in the Commonwealth. Far too many of these crossings pose serious safety risks to motorists crossing them.

In Richmond, the skewed crossing at North 7th, Valley Road and Hospital Street is considered one of the most dangerous crossings in the United States, according to the FRA. It has been identified by the Virginia Department of Transportation as one of six “hot spots” in the Commonwealth, along with two county road crossings in Petersburg at Lincoln Street and Grimes Road.

Richmond is also home to passenger rail lines as well. Main Street Station in downtown Richmond is an active Amtrak train station, providing access to its Northeast Regional Train. This line runs north to south from Richmond to DC, New York, Providence/Springfield and Boston, and east to west to Norfolk/Newport News and Virginia Beach.

In addition, plans are currently underway for high-speed rail service from Main Street Station to metropolitan downtowns up and down the eastern corridor. Plans have already been approved for a high-speed passenger rail line from Richmond to Raleigh, and a northbound high-speed line is currently in the works.

Virginia Laws Regarding Railroad and Train Crossings

Virginia law places considerable emphasis on safety at train crossings. Some of the primary regulations include the following:

Obligation to Stop and Yield

  • Stopping Requirement (Code of Virginia § 46.2-883): Motorists must stop at least 15 feet from the nearest rail if there’s an approaching train, signaling device, or flagman.
  • Yielding Right-of-Way (§ 46.2-884): Drivers must yield the right-of-way to an approaching train, even in the absence of visual signals.

Traffic Controls and Safety Measures

  • Railroad Crossbuck Signs (§ 46.2-830): These familiar x-shaped RAILROAD CROSSING and RR signs are placed at crossings and require drivers to yield to trains.
  • Installation of Gates and Lights (§ 56-411.1): This code section mandates the installation of safety mechanisms at certain crossings, depending on traffic volume and train frequency.

Penalties and Enforcement

  • Fines and Penalties (§ 46.2-819): Non-compliance with these regulations can result in fines, penalties, and even criminal charges in severe cases.

Dangers of Train Crossings: Accidents and Injuries

Train crossing collisions are catastrophic and can result in the following types of accidents and injuries:

Types of Accidents

  1. Vehicle-Train Collisions: When vehicles attempt to beat the train or fail to notice an oncoming train, serious collisions can occur.
  2. Pedestrian Involvement: Pedestrians crossing at inappropriate times or places are also at risk, including pedestrians walking along the tracks.
  3. Derailments: Faulty equipment or human error may lead to derailments, sometimes with catastrophic impacts on nearby motorists and residents.

Kinds of Injuries

  1. Fatalities: Loss of life is a tragic yet not uncommon consequence of a train crossing collision.
  2. Severe Physical Injuries: Victims of nonfatal accidents are likely to suffer from broken bones, head trauma, spinal injuries, and internal organ damage.
  3. Psychological Trauma: Emotional and psychological harm, including post-traumatic stress disorder, is common among crash survivors and others who witnessed the event.

Contact Latham & Martin Today

If you or a loved one has been affected by a train crossing collision in Virginia, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to guide you through the legal process. Whether your claim lies with the Virginia Department of Transportation or transportation companies like CSX or Norfolk Southern, our lawyers are dedicated to holding the proper parties accountable to you for the harm you’ve suffered due to their negligence. Contact us today for a comprehensive evaluation of your case. Your call is free, and there’s no fee until after we are successful in recovering compensation for you.

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