Florida Amtrak Train Kills Grandmother & Grandchildren Camping at Dangerous Crossing
In late November, a tragic accident here in Florida took the lives of a woman and her two grandchildren after an Amtrak train hit the car that they were traveling in. According to reports, the woman and children were going camping near the Corbett Wildlife Area when their car was hit. It is surmised that, because the railroad crossing where they were hit had no gate, and brush had overgrown the railroad markers and yield sign, shielding them from visibility from those entering Corbett, the driver likely did not realize that she was crossing train tracks with a train coming.
According to the check station operator at the wildlife management area, there have been a number of previous crashes with trains at this same crossing, indicating that whoever is responsible for signage and crossing gates could be held liable under a wrongful death claim in this case. Indeed, train companies, their operators, and any others that could have contributed to or been responsible for the circumstances (perhaps the city or county that is in charge of signage in the area) can be sued for negligence in these circumstances if a reasonable person arguably would not have been able to tell that they were crossing in front of an approaching train. Other factors may also be relevant, for example, if the investigation reveals that the train was operating at an unsafe speed.
Prevention & Litigation Against Amtrak
Given that there have been a number of accidents already at this particular crossing, there should have been gates to block cars from crossing the tracks when the train was coming, at a minimum. There should also be a clear line of sight for drivers to be able to see approaching trains, as well as warnings, such as bells or horns.
Unfortunately, this is not Amtrak’s first brush with negligence: In 2017, one train’s derailment killed three people and injured dozens more after the train was traveling at 80 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone. The 1997 Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act set a maximum limit ($295 million) for allowable rewards to passengers against such defendants for all claims related to one incident. However, the law only applies to passengers; not outside vehicles or pedestrians struck by the trains; meaning that there is no cap for their recovery.
If You or A Loved One Has Been Harmed by Negligence, Contact Our Florida Injury Attorneys
Anytime you or a loved one has been in an accident, it is best to consult an accident attorney who practices in this area to find out what your rights are and whether you are entitled to damages to help you with any pain and suffering and other damages you have incurred. At Douglas & Douglas, our Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys have represented some of the most catastrophic and deadly injuries imaginable when it comes to accidents like these. Contact us today with any questions you might have for a free consultation.