A 26-year-old man is dead after the pickup truck he was a passenger in was hit by a passing cargo train in Haymarket, VA Monday night. According to police, the driver of the Chevrolet Silverado the victim was in ignored a stop sign prior to the railroad crossing at James Madison Avenue near Kapp Valley Way. As the truck crossed the tracks, it was slammed into by the train.
The force of the train’s impact pushed the truck several hundred feet away. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The 42-year-old driver was extricated from the truck and airlifted to an area hospital. Police say he is expected to survive his injuries.
Railroad Crossing Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there were more than 2,100 railroad crossing accidents in 2021. More than 200 people were killed in those crashes, with another 700 suffering serious injuries. Fifty of those accidents occurred right here in Virginia, placing the state at number 13 out of 50.
In Virginia, as in every state, it is illegal for vehicle drivers to ignore signs, flashing lights, or lowered crossing gates at a railroad crossing. Legally, trains always have the right of way because they are unable to make sudden stops, swerve, or change direction in order to avoid colliding with a vehicle crossing the tracks. A train that is traveling 55 miles per hour needs one mile to come to a complete stop. By then, the train would already have slammed into a vehicle in front of it.
When a Passenger Is a Victim
Although there are railroad crossing accidents where the train company or other entity is liable for the crash, in many cases, the accident is a result of the vehicle driver ignoring warnings and attempting to “beat the train” instead of waiting for it to pass.
As in any car accident case, if a passenger of a vehicle is injured due to the negligence of the driver, they can pursue a car accident claim against the driver to recover damages for their injuries.
Tragically, the victim in this accident has died, however, his family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver. If it turns out that there were other factors in the crash – such as the stop sign being obstructed – then there could also potentially be other liable parties, as well. A Virginia wrongful death attorney would be able to evaluate the case and determine who should be named in the lawsuit.
Speak with a Skilled and Compassionate Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person should consider contacting a Virginia wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal recourse they may have for their pain and loss. Our legal team will work diligently to get your family the financial justice you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp also offers a free wrongful death guide for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The guide covers topics such as the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, what types of damages can be pursued, and who can be appointed as a personal representative.