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Sellersberg Crash Just the Latest Car-and-Train Accident in Indiana

Jason Reese

Car vs. Train Crash in Sellersberg Ends in Tragedy

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of news related to accidents and Indiana rail crossings. In fact, in 2016, Operation Lifesaver reported that Indiana had 10 fatal motor vehicle-meets-train accidents, ranking the Hoosier state the fifth highest in the nation.

Most recently one person died and two others were seriously injured when a car was hit by a train in southern Indiana at US 31 and Bringham Drive in Sellersburg. Police have reported that three people were ejected from the car, which was demolished in the crash. There are no crossing arms or lights at the intersection where the crash occurred.

Crash-Prone Rail Intersections Support Wrongful Death Cases

Accidents like this tragic motor vehicle-meets-train crash are most commonly a result of negligence on part of the driver, or attributable to the driver not heeding to warning signs. Indiana law says all motorists are supposed to stop between 15 and 50 feet from the nearest railroad tracks before proceeding. There may be a case for wrongful death in scenarios such as:

  1. If a stop sign is in place, it may not be visible. In fact, the tracks or signage may not be visible to others in the dark.
  2. Although railroad crossings without crossbars are common in some places, it may still be reasonably argued that the absence of crossbars, combined with poor lighting, made the driver oblivious to the danger. Indiana law mandates that the Indiana Department of Transportation co-ordinate with the railroad and the municipality to take all possible precautions to ensure safety at crossings.
  3. Indiana law requires the railroad to equip the locomotive engine with a whistle and a bell, and the driver to sound the whistle on the engine distinctly at least four times before reaching the crossing. If this is not done properly, motorists may be unaware of the approaching train.
  4. Like vehicles, trains also have speed limits. In some accidents, victims have alleged that the train was above the permissible speed limits. This can be difficult to prove and a time when an experienced attorney can help.

In 2017, Indiana lawmakers approved a new law that provides funding to improve crash-prone rail intersections. House Bill 1002 will require the Indiana Department of Transportation to develop a measurement to evaluate which rail crossing needs to be fixed first and improve crash-prone rail intersections with local roads and state highways. Lawmakers agree northwest Indiana will need the most work because of the current heavy congestion and at-risk crossings responsible for dozens of accidents each year. These improvements can’t happen soon enough.

Auto Accident Lawyers Can Help

Train companies have powerful insurance companies, so if you or a loved one are injured in a collision with a train, it is critical to employ an experienced attorney. This is one scenario you do not want to find yourself facing alone, especially if you are healing or grieving.

The auto accident attorneys at Wagner Reese have spent decades working on cases like these for vulnerable clients and their families. Connect with us by submitting our online form, and our attorneys will review your information, and respond promptly. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call (888) 204-8440.

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