It was a tragedy of almost immeasurable proportions. Five members of a family died in a horrific crash with an Amtrak train in southern Colorado last month. The sole survivor, a 4-year-old girl, was seriously injured as well.
The family was on their way to church services on a Sunday in June when their van attempted to cross the tracks at a crossing near Trinidad that had no gates but was marked.
The Amtrak train was en route from Chicago, IL, to Los Angeles, CA, when it struck the family in a rural area approximately 15 miles from the border with New Mexico.
Killed were the girl’s mother, 33, and father, 32, along with her three sisters, ages 8 months, 2 and 6.
According to the Colorado State Patrol, the van’s driver was at fault for failing to yield the right of way to the locomotive.
It’s important to note that while drivers must be aware of trains at crossings and yield to them to avoid tragic repercussions, in some instances, the train’s engineer or other entities may share culpability for the accident and subsequent injuries and/or deaths.
For instance, a train could be speeding excessively or have failed to sound a warning upon its approach. A crossing could be visually blocked with foliage or other obstructions that obscure a driver’s vision. Dangerous ungated crossings where other train-car collisions have taken place in the past may be inherently hazardous, and the state could bear some liability for failing to address the issue.
If you are injured in a collision with a train, you may have legal recourse to file a claim for damages.
Source: theeagle.com, “The Latest: 5 killed in Amtrak-van crash remembered,” July 01, 2016