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Railroad Expert Witness in Pedestrian Train Accident Cases

When a pedestrian suffers harm through a train intersection or at a rail crossing, a railroad expert witness may need to explain the situation and how the individual was not expected to know a train was coming. In these claims, the expert may need to provide examples and signs from the crossing and how the rail manufacturer failed with equipment warning the person.

Railroad Cases

There are several difficulties in progressing through a railroad case with a pedestrian. The train usually is loud and visible enough that possible injuries to the individual are avoidable with a modicum of caution. However, if there are additional factors involved such as a wooded area, other loud sounds and nearly hidden tracks, the pedestrian may suffer injury or death from the train. If the person is in a train station, harm is generally avoidable through observing the background and any movement in the area. However, hiring an expert witness may become necessary to prove why compensation is important for recovery or to explain the lack of warning signs.

The Railroad Warning Signs

When in the area of a train, there are usual warning signs available. These generally exist in flashing lights, specific sound to warn of an oncoming
train and wooden panels falling into place at a crossing. If the person is around the tracks but away from a railroad crossing, the train usually is both loud enough and will blow the whistle to warn anyone nearby that the train is in motion. These warning signs are generally enough, but some stations may also have posted signs with wording to explain the dangers of proximity to moving trains and any other possible injuries the person may incur.

Explaining Railroad Accidents

The sheer size of a train is often enough to kill a pedestrian in the area. The railroad expert witness may need to reconstruct the incident if the claim involves wrongful death. However, the case may also include either accidental death or negligence on the part of the pedestrian. A reconstruction will generally recreate a timeline of the entire situation starting from when and why the pedestrian was near the train. Then, it will include matters and factors of the case such as warning signs, if the person had headphones in or was not paying attention and any other elements that could cloud visibility or sound of the oncoming train.

The Facts of the Case

Railroad expert witnesses must outline the facts of the case and determine if a reconstruction is necessary based on the information available. Additional matters and subject material may help in uncovering other issues such as impaired hearing, wooded areas hiding the railroad crossing and a lack of awareness of the tracks. Other facts of the case could give the defending company strength such as negligence or ignorance of the warning signs and walking on the train tracks. While the professional may provide opinions, he or she must remain objective and only work with the data and factual details.

The Expert and Proving the Claim

For injured parties or a wrongful death claim with victims of railroad accidents, the expert witness usually must prove certain elements exist. In negligence claims, this involves the need to demonstrate that the train or railroad owed a duty of care to others. Any breaches may incur injuries death of pedestrians. If the person suffers harm near a crossing, the area must have the standard warning signs to ensure the individual is aware of a possible oncoming train. The fewer factors that exist to support the defendant may increase the strength of the plaintiff’s case against the company or entity.

The expert may also need to explain to the courtroom about state and federal regulations that involve the railways of the city. Maintenance standards may become important for the case when it is the tracks that caused the injury. The harm caused could impact the quality of life of the victim if he or she survives the incident. Other necessary information may appear in the claim through the professional and his or her explanation of the matter.

Testimony of the Railroad Expert Witness

An expert witness will often create a report for the case, but he or she usually testifies about the facts of the case and may provide opinions based on the facts and data. This testimony is important in clearing up confusion and informing the judge or jury about all elements of the claim with the plaintiff.

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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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