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Railroad Crossings

Train accidents often involve locomotives, light rail systems and railroads. Frequently, these life altering accidents happen at unprotected crossings, due to a lack of proper lighting and signals to indicate an oncoming train to pedestrians and passenger motor vehicles. Tragically, despite technological improvements and the availability of sophisticated devices, few grade crossings are adequately protected by flashers and gates. The Department of Transportation inspects and recommends various railroad crossings that are in need of maintenance. Due to a lack of personnel, however, these inspections are often reprioritized, resulting in numerous grade crossings that lack working gates and lights. Federal law regulates the maintenance of these grade crossings, as well as the duties of both common carriers and motorists.

The train crews for both freight and passenger trains include the conductor, engineer and brakeman. Train crews owe a duty of care to keep their passengers safe for the duration of their travel. The crewmembers of a passenger train are held to a heightened standard of care in the operation of the train as it approaches and passes through public grade crossings. Train crews have a duty to provide safety to all who travel on roads that cross railroad tracks, and they must provide proper maintenance of tracks and adequate notice of an approaching train. Train crews must also operate the train at a reasonable speed. Additionally, train crews must maintain a reasonable lookout and control over the train. Massachusetts law also requires crews to slow down, and potentially stop the train, during hazardous conditions such as snow, rain, fog or any other conditions which limit visibility.

The railroad also bears responsibility in providing grade crossing protection. The installation of protective devices at railroad crossings is approved, funded and inspected by state and federal authorities. Once the grade protection devices are installed, however, the obligation is on the railroad to maintain the condition of all gates, cross bucks, stop signs and flashing lights. The railroad also has a responsibility to clear all vegetation and debris from railroad crossings, so as to ensure that adequate sight lines are maintained at all times.

Motor vehicle operators also have responsibilities when approaching a public grade crossing. Generally, motorists approaching a railroad crossing must stop no less than fifteen feet from the nearest rail, upon detecting an oncoming train. The motor vehicle driver must then wait until the train has cleared the crossing before proceeding. In general, trains have the right of way, and cars must yield to them. However, in cases where a crossing is found to be excessively hazardous, the railroad owes a heightened duty of care to protect crossing cars from the danger.

The established duties and responsibilities of all of the parties referenced above help determine fault for train accidents which occur at railroad crossings. In order to bring a Massachusetts train accident claim against a common carrier, individuals injured in motor vehicles at railroad crossings must demonstrate that the crossing was negligently maintained or that the train was being operated in a reckless or negligent manner.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Massachusetts train accident, the Boston train accident attorneys and Boston wrongful death lawyers at the Law Offices of Gilbert R. Hoy, Jr. and Affiliates can help you protect your legal rights. Our veteran, expert and highly skilled Boston train wreck lawyers have assisted many Massachusetts train accident victims and their families. Our lawyers would be pleased to help you.

Our Boston Train Accident Lawyer Specialists Are Available 24/7 at 617-787-3700. Please Do Not Hesitate. Call Our Massachusetts Train Crash Attorney Experts Today. Your Needs Are Our Top Priority!

If You or a Loved One Has Been Injured in a Massachusetts Train Accident, You Need an Expert Boston, MA Train Accident Lawyer To Help You. Call the Massachusetts Train Wreck Attorney Specialists at the Law Offices of Gilbert R. Hoy, Jr. and Affiliates Today at 617-787-3700 or E-mail Us at









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