California drivers probably don't think about the risks involved with driving across train tracks. We don't hear about train accidents often, and we assume that there will be warning lights and gates to tell us when a train is approaching. With forces as strong as freight trains crossing roadways, however, it is important that both trains and automobiles take care to operate safely in order to avoid a serious accident. Unfortunately, these accidents are not always avoidable.
One California man experienced this firsthand when his truck was struck by a freight train at a private crossing. He was reportedly approaching the crossing on his way to work when the freight train collided with the front corner of his truck, causing the vehicle to spin several times before coming to rest alongside the tracks. He suffered injuries to the head and arm, and was transported to an area hospital where he later died from his injuries.
As an investigation still continues, it is not certain what may have caused the accident to occur. Private crossings such as this might not have the same regulations as public railroad crossings, but it isn't said what safety precautions are in place for these areas.
The victim of the accident is not suspected to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. While it remains to be seen what the outcome of this case will be, a victim, or his or her surviving family, may be entitled to seek compensation for damages caused by the accident when it is established that another party acted negligently in a manner that caused or contributed to the accident. In the case of train accidents, particularly at private crossings, a number of safety issues may come into play, including whether there were sufficient warning devices, if any safety devices present were operating improperly, and if the train conductor was speeding or otherwise acting in a negligent manner.
Source: Merced Sun-Star.com, "Man dies after pickup struck by train in Le Grand," Mike North, June 19, 2012