A railroad trestle in Wilkes-Barre PA is a public safety hazard that has killed one person and left another person severely injured, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Luzerne County PA this week.
The trestle crosses over East Thomas St. at South Cleveland St. in Wilkes Barre, and has a large gap between a set of current and former railroad tracks that is a major hazard, according to the lawsuit.
That is where a 29 year-old man died last year. He was riding his dirt bike through the opening at 2 am on April 26, 2015 and fell 20 feet to the ground and died. The owners and operators of the bridge had known it was hazardous since May 2014, when an ATV rider also fell through the hole and suffered serious injuries.
Attorneys representing the widow and her daughter filed the suit against the owner of the trestle, the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority and Luzerne County Rail Corp.
The attorneys stated that the defendants did not take any action after the first accident to restrict or impede the public from using the railroad right of way, as well as the trestle.
Fatalities on train tracks and train trestles are far too common, but in our work as railroad accident lawyers, we find that railroads often delay or fight important safety upgrades to save money. We have seen railroads hesitate to spend money on fences, No Trespassing signs, systems that would allow dispatchers to slow or stop trains and more. We advise all railroads to do more to control track access and to improve protections on train trestles for people who live and work near them.
People whose loved ones have died at or near train tracks such as in the above tragedy should talk to a personal injury attorney to determine if the railroad may be held liable.
A man from Beaumont TX is suing Union Pacific Railroad for his injuries after a February 2013 crash that happened on a Beaumont railroad crossing on Highway 90. The man was driving a big rig hauling a crane when the trailer got stuck at the crossing. He hopped out of his truck to look at the damage, and then a train slammed into his rig. The lawsuit alleges that he suffered mental and physical injuries.
The man’s attorneys stated that the trucker did not have a clear view of the stretch of tracks when he got out of his rig. The lawsuit further alleges that the train operators did not blow the horn when they approached the crossing, and they were not paying attention to the tracks when the crash happened.
We often represent injured clients who were hit by trains at railroad crossings. By using retired railroad workers as investigators, we are able to investigate the circumstances of the crossing and also we can pick up the phone and speak to other experts on railroad crossings. For example, we have represented people who were hit at railroad crossings and we were able to show that appropriate warnings were not followed at the crossing. In some cases, the vegetation was not properly cut around the tracks, which meant that drivers did not have a clear view of oncoming trains. In other cases, the train operators failed to blow their whistle, leading to a collision.