What can I do if I am injured in a railroad accident?
In the wake of a series of fatal accidents at railroad crossings in the state, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have agreed to expand safety measures in order to ensure the state’s law adhere to federal regulations. Earlier this year, the Federal Railroad Administration asked every state to check their rail crossing systems. “This agreement will help to reduce the amount of preventable tragedies that have occurred at these crossings over the years," Cuomo said in a statement. Deadly Crashes at NY Rail Crossings In February 2015, a Metro-North Commuter train struck an SUV that had driven onto the track In Valhalla, killing its driver and five passengers. Apparently, the signal system failed and the SUV drove onto the tracks unaware of the oncoming train. Lawmakers believe that upgraded signage, signals and safety inspections will reduce the chances of such deadly accidents. With these new rules in place, every railroad company, municipality and state agency will be required to conduct inspections of traffic control devices at least every two years, and the laws will adhere to federal reporting requirements. In addition the rail crossing systems enhancements, the new law will also require private railroad companies to submit bridge inspection reports to the state Department of Transportation on an annual basis. The state will also launch a public-awareness campaign about the dangers of rail crossings. Penalties Railroad companies face penalties up to$5,000 for each violation of the law, including failure to notify the state of accidents or to submit require bi-annual and annual reports. Vehicle drivers also have responsibilities under the law and face fines for driving through train signals - $750 for a second offense. Why This Matters The new legislation is long overdue and should help to curtail deadly accidents at railroad crossings. That being said, thousands of train accidents occur every year across the country resulting in serious injuries and lost lives. If you or a loved one was injured in a train accident, an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.