Train Accident Lawyer

train ACCIDENT

INFORMATION AND WHAT TO DO

Individuals who work on trains and along America’s railways work in a very dangerous environment. The chances of accidents involving injuries are extremely high considering there are over 200,000 miles of railroad track, over 1,000,000 freight cars, 20,000 locomotives and almost 90,000 track miles of signal and train control systems. In Louisiana certain rules and restrictions, Louisiana Revised Statutes 32:168 and 32:169, are in place to help reduce the chances of accidents. Unfortunately, with so much traffic on Louisiana railways, accidents do happen. Many of these accidents result in serious or fatal injuries to passengers and workers. At Murphy Law Firm, LLC, in Baton Rouge, our experienced lawyers provide representation to train accident victims. Founded in 1993, our attorneys have obtained significant settlements and verdicts for clients in our more than 28 years of service. 

SUBPART F.  RAILROAD GRADE CROSSINGS

§168.  Equipment of locomotive with bell and whistle or horn, sounding of signals

A.  Every railroad company or person owning and operating a railroad in this state shall equip each locomotive engine with a bell and a whistle or horn which, under normal conditions, can be heard at a distance of not less than one quarter of a mile.

B.  Except as specifically exempted by law, any person controlling the motion of an engine on any railroad shall commence sounding the audible signal when such engine is approaching and not less than one quarter of a mile from the place where such railroad crosses any highway.  Such sounding shall be prolonged either continuously or by blasts of the whistle or horn to be sounded in the manner provided by the Uniform Code of Railroad Operating Rules until the engine has crossed the roadway, unless the distance from that crossing to the start of the movement or the distance between the crossings is less than one quarter of a mile, in which event such warning signals shall be so sounded for the lesser distance.   In cases of emergency said whistles or horn may be sounded in repeated short blasts.

C.  The provisions of this Section shall not apply to the Kansas City Southern railroad line which runs parallel to Perkins Road in the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Added by Acts 1982, No. 669, §1; Acts 1998, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 83, §1, eff. March 1, 1999; Acts 1998, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 121, §2.

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§169.  Cross buck, stop and warning signs, traffic control devices

A.  Any person, firm, or corporation controlling any railroad track which intersects a public road or street at grade crossings, except those contained in the maintenance system of the department, shall erect and maintain a “Railroad Cross Buck” sign at the crossings above referred to which shall be white with the “Railroad Crossing” in black letters.  The sign shall be reflectorized.  If there are two or more tracks, same shall be indicated on an auxiliary sign of inverted “T” shape mounted below the cross buck.  This sign shall be erected on the right hand side of the roadway of such approach to the crossing not more than fifty feet nor less than fifteen feet from the nearest rail and not less than six feet or more than twelve feet from the edge of the roadway.  The sign shall be ten feet above the level of the highway and said sign shall be constructed in accordance with the standards of the department.

B.  The person, firm, or corporation controlling any railroad track hereinabove referred to may, with written approval of the chief engineer of the department or his designated representative, erect stop signs at any grade crossings of railroads on highways not contained in the state maintenance system.  Said signs shall be octagonal in shape, shall have a red background, and carry the word “stop” in white letters all in accordance with the standards of the department.  Said signs shall be located not less than fifteen feet nor more than fifty feet from the nearest rail and shall be erected on the right hand side of the highway of each approach to the crossing and not less than six feet nor more than twelve feet from the edge of the roadway.  Where “stop” signs are erected the said railroad shall also erect and maintain a railroad advance warning sign on the right side of the road not less than one hundred feet nor more than three hundred feet from the nearest rail of said crossing measured along the highway, said sign shall be a yellow disk thirty-six inches in diameter carrying a ninety degree cross buck x and the letters R.R. in black in accordance with the standards of the department.  When such signs are erected, the driver of any vehicle shall stop within fifty feet but not less than fifteen feet from the nearest rail of such railroad and shall proceed only upon the exercising of due care and being sure that it is safe to proceed.

C.  All cross buck and warning signs provided for herein shall be installed by the person, firm or corporation controlling the railroad as the present signs are replaced.

D.  Subsections A and B of this Section do not apply to grade crossings of any roadway which is contained in the state maintained highway system.

E.(1)  A railroad company shall install a traffic control device or devices at a public railroad grade crossing pursuant to an agreement with the Department of Transportation and Development.  Whenever the department determines that a particular traffic control device needs to be installed at a public highway railroad grade crossing, the railroad company shall cooperate with the department in the installation of such device or devices.  In the case of a federally funded grade crossing project, the railroad company shall enter into an agreement with the department for the installation or upgrade of such traffic control device.  A railroad company shall not be required to provide the non-federal share of costs involved in federally funded grade crossing improvement projects.

(2)(a)  The Department of Transportation and Development, in cooperation with each parish superintendent of transportation, shall identify all public highway railroad grade crossings located on state highways within one-half mile of any public or private elementary or secondary school.  The department shall further identify such grade crossings that have active warning devices in place, whether such active warning devices include lights only or lights and cross-arms, and also identify the grade crossings that are scheduled to have active warning devices installed, and the grade crossings that do not have active warning devices in place.

(b)  The survey shall be completed no later than February 1, 2003.  A report of the survey shall be submitted to the Senate Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works no later than March 1, 2003.  Beginning in 2004, the department shall file an annual report with the committees no later than March first of each year.  The report shall contain but not be limited to the following information: the number of grade crossings located within one-half mile of any public or private elementary or secondary school; the number of affected grade crossings that have active warning devices in place; whether such active warning devices include lights only or lights and cross-arms; the number of affected grade crossings scheduled to have active warning devices installed; the expected dates of installation of active warning devices for those affected grade crossings; and the number of affected grade crossings that do not have active warning devices in place.

(c)  After all grade crossings located within one-half mile of any public or private elementary or secondary school have been identified and the initial report has been filed, the department shall prioritize the affected grade crossings according to standards of the industry as set forth in the Railroad Grade Crossing Handbook.  The department is authorized to use at least twenty-five percent of all federal or state funds available to the department for grade crossing upgrades to upgrade such affected grade crossings, each year, until all such affected grade crossings have been upgraded with active warning devices, including lights and cross-arms provided that such use complies with all other state and federal laws and regulations.

(3)  A railroad company may install a traffic control device or make other improvements or modifications at a railroad grade crossing at its own expense under the following conditions:

(a)  When such crossing upgrade, improvement, or modification will improve the safety of the traveling public, train crew members, or train passengers.

(b)  When such crossing upgrade, improvement, or modification is needed due to the presence of hazardous conditions or certain operation factors or a combination of both.

(c)  When such crossing upgrade, improvement, or modification is incidental to a railroad improvement project relating to track structures or train control systems.

(4)  Any upgrade, improvement, or modification performed by a railroad company under the provisions of this Subsection shall comply with all conditions and requirements in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

F.  Nothing in this Section shall relieve a railroad company of its responsibility to maintain safe crossings.

G.  In any civil action to recover damages arising from or out of a railroad grade crossing accident, the survey and initial or annual reports of railroad grade crossings prepared pursuant to Subsection E of this Section shall not be considered as comparative negligence and shall not be discoverable or admissible as evidence in any civil trial.

Added by Acts 1982, No. 669, §1; Acts 1998, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 122, §1; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 156, §1, eff. April 25, 2002; Acts 2006, No. 11, §2.

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Learn more about your rights after a railroad accident in Louisiana. Call Murphy Law Firm, LLC locally at 225-928-8800 to schedule a free initial consultation. As more and more freight and passenger cars travel along America’s railways, accidents can occur more frequently and the potential for injury becomes greater. If you, or someone you love, have been injured in a railroad accident, you need compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any wages lost due to time away from work.

Murphy Law Firm, LLC also represents workers and passengers who are involved in train and railroad accidents. Learn more information about your rights and what options you have for pursuing the benefits you deserve. At our firm, we rely on a team of personal injury lawyers and staff to provide the representation that our clients deserve after train accidents. Quality representation includes direct communication, thorough accident investigations, personalized attention and ethical treatment that puts your best interests first.

After a Train Accident, Talk With a Lawyer

After a railroad accident in Baton Rouge or elsewhere in the state of Louisiana, contact us at Murphy Law Firm, LLC. Schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your accident with an experienced legal advocate. Call our office locally at 225-317-9907 to make an appointment. All cases are taken on a contingency basis. Don’t Be A Victim Twice!

§866.  Compulsory motor vehicle liability security; failure to comply; limitation of damages

A.(1)  There shall be no recovery for the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and no recovery for the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damage based on any cause or right of action arising out of a motor vehicle accident, for such injury or damages occasioned by an owner or operator of a motor vehicle involved in such accident who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security.

(2)  For purposes of this Section, the meaning of “bodily injury” and “property damage” is governed by the applicable motor vehicle liability insurance policy or, in the event of security other than an insurance policy, the meaning of such terms is that which is commonly ascribed thereto.

(3)(a)  The limitation of recovery provisions of this Subsection do not apply if the driver of the other vehicle:

(i)  Is cited for a violation of R.S. 14:98 as a result of the accident and is subsequently convicted of or pleads nolo contendere to such offense.

(ii)  Intentionally causes the accident.

(iii)  Flees from the scene of the accident.

(iv)  At the time of the accident, is in furtherance of the commission of a felony offense under the law.

(b)  The limitation of recovery provisions of this Subsection do not apply if at the time of the accident, the other vehicle is not being operated and the vehicle is not in violation of the provisions of Chapter 1 of this Title.

B.  Each person who is involved in an accident in which the other motor vehicle was not covered by compulsory motor vehicle liability security and who is found to be liable for damages to the owner or operator of the other motor vehicle may assert as an affirmative defense the limitation of recovery provisions of Subsection A of this Section.

C.  If the owner of a motor vehicle, who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security, institutes an action to recover damages in any amount, regardless of whether such owner or operator is at fault, and is awarded an amount equal to or less than the minimum amount of compulsory motor vehicle liability security, then such owner or operator shall be assessed and held liable for all court costs incurred by all parties to the action.

D.  Each person who applies for a driver’s license, registers a motor vehicle, or operates or owns a motor vehicle in this state is deemed to have given his consent to be subject to and governed by the provisions of this Section.  All persons who apply for the issuance or renewal of a driver’s license, motor vehicle title, or motor vehicle registration shall sign a declaration on a form developed by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections pursuant to rule and regulation that the person acknowledges and gives consent to the requirements and provisions of this Section and that the person will comply with all provisions of this Section and the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law.  Proof of whether the person obtained or signed such declaration is irrelevant to the application of this Section.

E.  Nothing in this Section shall preclude a passenger in a vehicle from asserting a claim to recover damages for injury, death, or loss which he occasioned, in whole or in part, by the negligence of another person arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle.  This Subsection shall not apply to a passenger who is also the owner of the uninsured motor vehicle involved in the accident.

F.(1)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no insurer shall lose any rights of subrogation for claims paid under the applicable insurance policy for the recovery of any sum in excess of the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damages.

(2)  In claims where no suit is filed, the claimant’s insurer shall have all rights to recover any amount paid by the claimant’s insurer on behalf of the insured for the recovery of any sum in excess of the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damages.

G.(1)  Except for newly acquired vehicles added to a policy subject to the policy terms, the issuance, change, or adjustment of any motor vehicle liability security or insurance policy subsequent to a motor vehicle accident, without proof of coverage having been bound prior to such motor vehicle accident, shall not effectuate any of the following:

(a)  The recovery for injury or damages that are otherwise prohibited under this Section.

(b)  The defeat of any affirmative defense otherwise allowed under this Section.

(c)  The avoidance of liability for court costs otherwise required under this Section.

(2)  Reinstatement provisions of a policy during the premium payment grace period specified in the policy shall not be invalidated by the provisions of this Section.

H.  The provisions of this Part shall not apply to any vehicle which is legally parked at the time of the accident.

Acts 1997, No. 1476, §4, eff. Sept. 6, 1998; Acts 1999, No. 1085, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2003, No. 532, §1; Acts 2008, No. 921, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010; Acts 2014, No. 149, §1.

NOTE:  See Acts 1997, No. 1476, §5(D)(2).  The rate reduction day was the date on which the judgment in the lawsuit became final, May 8, 1998.  Sections 2 through 4 became effective 120 days thereafter, Sept. 6, 1998.

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Art. 2323.  Comparative fault

A.  In any action for damages where a person suffers injury, death, or loss, the degree or percentage of fault of all persons causing or contributing to the injury, death, or loss shall be determined, regardless of whether the person is a party to the action or a nonparty, and regardless of the person’s insolvency, ability to pay, immunity by statute, including but not limited to the provisions of R.S. 23:1032, or that the other person’s identity is not known or reasonably ascertainable.  If a person suffers injury, death, or loss as the result partly of his own negligence and partly as a result of the fault of another person or persons, the amount of damages recoverable shall be reduced in proportion to the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to the person suffering the injury, death, or loss.

B.  The provisions of Paragraph A shall apply to any claim for  recovery of damages for injury, death, or loss asserted under any law or legal doctrine or theory of liability, regardless of the basis of liability.

C.  Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraphs A and B, if a person suffers injury, death, or loss as a result partly of his own negligence and partly as a result of the fault of an intentional tortfeasor, his claim for recovery of damages shall not be reduced.

Amended by Acts 1979, No. 431, §1; Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 3, §1, eff. April 16, 1996.

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