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Railroad Accident Expert Witness Describes Cause of Accidents

Many accidents that harm persons when working or performing job duties may be severe. This often depends on the industry and the equipment or tools used. For railroad workers, these incidents could end in death with the heavy and sharp items most readily available.

The tracks, wheels, cars and smaller tools used to connect parts are all potential risks to the safety and wellbeing of these employees. Other issues such as drivers that run over railroad crossings may be hit by the cars or other debris when too close to the location or attempting to cross when the railroad vehicle is traversing the tracks.

When accidents occur and both property damage and bodily harm occur, it is important to understand how to resolve the matter. For drivers, these issues are complicated due to the severity of damage and injury caused when being hit by these large and long vehicles. The force of being hit while in a railroad crossing is frequently enough to destroy anything in its path. Unfortunately, this may happen when there are not indications that the cars are on the tracks such as lights or the panels. If that occurs, injury and
death are more possible than when there are warning signs to watch for.

What is a Railroad Accident?

Some individuals attempt to outrace a train when on the road. These persons are unable to judge the distance correctly in many situations which then lead to accidents where the vehicle is totaled and the driver and any passengers are usually injured severely or do no survive the incident. Others may not see any warning signs that a train is coming. There are instances where the lights and beams do not work as they should. There are a few crossings that have neither of these markers, and the driver must determine if it is safe to cross. In rare circumstance where nothing is available to assist the vehicle operator in discovering if a train is on the tracks, he or she may become involved in an accident. These events are often rare, but it is possible to observe these where only part of the car is damaged and injuries are not severe.

Some persons involved in incidents with railroad crossings are unable to view a train moving on the tracks. This has been documented by experts. It is due to retinal images not registering with sideview objects that are in motion while the person is looking forward. This then leads to an accident where the individual is harmed, and he or she may not even be aware that the train has collided with him or her until the damage has already been done. Peripheral vision may play a part in these events. This means that the sideview may be recognized with a greater frequency in those with larger fields of periphery vision. When this is lacking, it is possible the motion and object may not be seen by the eye at all.

Other Visual Complications

When someone is far away from a large object, even one that is moving, it appears to move slower than when the item is smaller. This means that drivers tend to underestimate the speed of a train. Judgments are flawed when compared to trains due to familiarity with only usual traffic of other cars and trucks. This means that the judgment applied to the speed of something on the train tracks is flawed and may lead to negative consequences. Other visual complication with judgment is the warning light and sign when a train in coming. Most drivers are aware that there is enough time to cross the tracks before the train and cars are near enough to cause harm. However, the danger of being hit is not considered, and these persons cross too closely with disastrous outcomes frequently.

Distractions may cause a driver to fail to observe any visual warnings such as the flashing lights or the beams falling into place. If the light is small or white, the driver may not become aware of the danger until it is too late. When other distractions within the vehicle cause him or her to discard any warning, accidents occur with greater frequency. Other instances of these complications arise when the battery operated flashing lights no longer have any juice and no warning light emits for the driver. There are severe limitations with the lights, and this could mean no visual notices are available.

The Expert Witness in Railroad Accident Cases

Experts that understand the limitations of railroad lights and other warnings are able to explain these complications to the judge or jury. Knowledge in how accident occur with trains is crucial in assisting a lawyer with the case.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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