High-speed train services are becoming more popular in Florida, but with this growing popularity comes a surge in the number of accidents at railroad crossings involving pedestrians and trains.
Florida ranked in the top 10 (number six) nationwide for railroad crossing accidents in a ranking by Injury Claim Coach, a Miami-based company that studies this issue, among other railroad safety-related issues, each year. More than a dozen pedestrians have been killed in accidents since Florida’s Brightline trains started their test runs in the southern part of the state in 2017, the most recent being an accident in May that resulted in the death of a 31-year-old woman attempting to cross the tracks.
There were 462 total railroad accidents reported between 2014 and 2018 in Florida. Of those, 16 percent resulted in deaths and 25 percent in injuries. Many of these deaths occur in low-income urban areas where pedestrians live close to the railroads and might take for granted their dangers. About 65 percent of fatal railroad crossing accidents involved pedestrians, with school buses (one third) and motorcycles (29 percent) also having high rates of mortality when involved in collisions. The most common cause of accidents is drivers and pedestrians failing to adhere to warnings at crossings and failing to give trains the right of way.
Is it always the victim’s fault?
While most railroad crossing accidents are the fault of the victim, there may be some circumstances in which there are not sufficient warnings of a train’s approach. In such a case, the local municipality may be at fault for failing to provide these warnings.
For more information on how to proceed in an injury claim if you’ve been injured in a railroad or other public transportation accident, speak with a knowledgeable Manatee County personal injury attorney at Goldman Babboni Fernandez & Walsh.