Negligence comes in many guises. Most people usually think of a faceless driver who causes a car, pedestrian or motorcycle accident and hurts another individual. But sometimes a negligent act can come someone other than a stranger. As personal injury lawyers and auto accident attorneys for Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area, I and my colleagues work to help victims of traffic wrecks and other types of serious injury accidents.
A negligent driver can be one who drinks and drives, or while speeding hits another car or commercial vehicle and kills or injures the occupants of the second vehicle; similarly, negligence can take the form of a driver who is responsible for the safety of his passengers and fails to exercise proper precautions and in doing so causes an auto accident that injures the occupants of his or her own vehicle.
Not long ago, a minivan was hit by a Norfolk and Southern freight train at a Fruitland railroad crossing in Wicomico County. According to a news article, three of the van’s passengers were seriously hurt when the collision occurred at the Rte 13 and Cedar Ln crossing just prior to 7pm. The motor vehicle was caught and dragged nearly 500 yards down the tracks before coming to rest.
In the wake of the crash, emergency responders arrived from the Fruitland Volunteer and Salisbury 16 fire companies to lend aid to the victims, all of who survived the ordeal — lucky for all since such train-auto accidents have been known to kill the driver and/or passengers of the smaller motor vehicle. The force of the train-car accident trapped the occupants in the Chrysler minivan until rescue personnel could cut them out of the damaged vehicle.
Police reports indicated that nobody was injured on the freight train, which was reportedly pulling about a dozen railcars, including a couple propane tankers and several carloads of stone. At the time of the article, police and railroad officials were still conducting an investigation of the collision. There was no indication at the time whether or not the accident was a result of driver error, outright negligence or defective vehicle or railroad safety equipment, however, investigators were trying to discern whether or not there was a malfunction in the caution signals at railroad crossing prior to the accident.
3 injured in Fruitland train, car collision, DelmarvaNow.com, January 7, 2011