Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?”
The number of deadly train accidents across North Carolina has increased dramatically so far in 2013 and state safety officials are eager to come up with a solution to end the escalating problem. To help with that, a rail safety summit took place late last month with railroad officials, government workers, police officers and public safety advocates.
The numbers so far this year clearly demonstrate the problem: so far 15 people in North Carolina have died in train-related accidents. In all of 2012 there were only 18 train-related fatalities. Authorities say most of the deaths were due to pedestrians who were on railroad tracks, meaning they trespassed onto land that the railroad operators control. Nine out of the 15 deaths have involved such trespassers, something law enforcement officials are struggling to deal with.
Police say if someone is caught trespassing on a railroad’s right-of-way that person can be charged with a misdemeanor, but this has not appeared to prevent people from continuing to trespass. Experts say the reason for the trespassing varies, some people are just bored and out for a walk, others are trying to tempt fate while others were taking what they thought was an uneventful jog.
Those deaths that do not involve pedestrians are typically caused because drivers either disregard or never noticed warnings at railroad crossings. In some cases, rushed drivers attempt to cross already lowered crossing gates thinking they can beat the oncoming train. The state Transportation Secretary, Tony Tata, says that drivers need to understand that it’s far better to wait a few minutes than to never arrive at all.
To help combat this problem officials say they will make some physical changes to rail lines, especially on busy corridors between Charlotte and Raleigh. Officials have proposed eliminating 23 rail crossings, in some cases this may mean actually raising the road or the railroad over the other.
Many people don’t understand just how big and heavy the trains are and how long it can take to stop one that’s in motion. An official with the state’s Department of Transportation says that fully loaded trains can take more than a mile to come to a complete stop and, given the fact that trains only run on tracks, there’s no way for the conductor to simply swerve out of the way.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on Personal Injury, Family Law and Business Litigation. Mr. Arnold began his career handling insurance defense litigation for several major insurance companies. He also went on to handle business litigation cases and high value mortgage fraud cases, primarily in Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“NC leaders seek solutions to train accidents,” by Julian Spector, published at NewsObserver.com.
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