Train Accident That Left Six Dead Leads to Lawsuits

A June 24, 2011, accident in which a big rig crashed into a train in Nevada and killed six, has led to five lawsuits from injured passengers against the trucking company that employed the at-fault tractor-trailer driver. A countersuit has also been filed against the train operator and track owner. John Davis Trucking Co. of Battle Mountain, NV, is facing multiple wrongful death and injury suits, and it has sued Amtrak and Union Pacific for failing to maintain a safe railroad crossing and not providing adequate warnings of approaching trains, Fleet Owner reported.

"Our position is that John Davis Trucking has acted properly and has done everything right," Steve Jaffee, the Las Vegas-based lawyer representing the trucking company, told the magazine. "The evidence will demonstrate that this was an issue involving Amtrak and Union Pacific and failures on their part."

The first personal injury lawsuit was filed in late June by Alexandra Curtis, who is one of about 20 people injured in the train-truck accident. She alleges the truck driver and his employer were negligent. Court filings claim the  the big rig driver ignored warning signals and railroad crossing gates.

See this news report of the incident.

The trucking company's counterclaim appears questionable. Two other truckers traveling with the one that struck the train saw the warning lights and stopped. Also, the big rig driver had received five earlier citations for moving violations. The fact he was still driving trucks raises questions about the culpability of his employer. More lawsuits, including wrongful death claims, are likely to arise from this tragic accident.

As experienced Virginia (VA) railroad injury attorneys, we also know the failure of a railroad to maintain crossings has been linked to many deaths. Rail crossings remain danger areas. In March 2011, for instance, a crash involving a van transporting Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad workers and a BNSF freight train occurred at a crossing in a rail yard in Kelso, Washington (WA). The collision killed three of the rail employees and left a fourth man in the vehicle with severe injuries.


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