Shortly before midnight on Friday, December 2, a Centralia man turned onto Jennings Road and collided with a Norfolk Southern Amtrak train near the intersection of Jennings Road and Keil Road in Sturgeon, Missouri. Unfortunately, the man did not survive the crash. Like many incidents involving train crashes with automobiles, this particular intersection was a passive railroad crossing, with no bells, warning lights, or motion gates. Sadly, had there been adequate warning systems in place, it is possible the accident could have been prevented.
As law enforcement reconstructed the scene, it was noted that at this crossing, two signs were posted — a yield sign and a railroad crossing sign (also known as a crossbuck). The tragedy serves as a reminder of how dangerous train crossings can be, especially when they lack adequate warning systems. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Crossing Inventory, there are 4,381 public crossings and 2,183 private crossings throughout the state of Missouri. Of the state’s public crossings at grade (meaning crossing between roads on the same level), only 50% are equipped with active warning systems, such as lights or gates.
2022 Sees an Increase in Train Crashes at Passive Crossings
Unfortunately, this is not the first time such a tragedy has occurred. According to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data, in addition to Friday night’s accident – just since September – there have been 10 fatalities due to train crashes in Missouri in 2022. This accident was the fourth train crash at a passive crossing in central Missouri this year. Also concerning is data from the Missouri Department of Transportation and the FRA, which reveals that 19 out of 26 train crashes in Missouri in 2022 have been at passive crossings. This highlights the need for active warning systems at crossings throughout the state.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Train Crash Victims
These kinds of train crashes can be devastating and leave individuals and families grieving over personal losses. Unfortunately, personal injury or wrongful death cases involving train crashes are complicated as there are often multiple parties involved in determining fault in the accident, which could include operators, railroad companies, and local governments.
The lack of adequate warning systems is not the only factor that contributes to train crashes either. Potential causes of these types of train accidents can include inadequate maintenance, operator negligence, speeding, and mechanical failure among other issues. The fact that over 80% of railroad crossings in the U.S. don’t have adequate warning systems as well, is a large reason for the majority of crashes.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a train crash, personal injury or wrongful death claims can be made in order to help seek justice and compensation for the victim. An experienced Columbia train crash lawyer can guide you through the legal process and make sure that you get the justice and compensation that you’re entitled to. This can include being compensated for medical bills, personal pain and suffering, current and future lost wages, and more. If you’ve lost a loved one due to criminal or negligent behavior, personal injury lawyers can help you seek wrongful death damages to cover funeral costs and other expenses as well.
Contact us to Learn More About Your Legal Options After a Train Crash
We understand that train accidents often have devastating consequences for victims and their families. If you or a loved one were injured in a train crash due to someone else’s negligence, contact the Columbia Law Office of Chris Miller today. We have extensive experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases involving train collisions, and we are dedicated to providing personal, compassionate representation for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.