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Trucking company sued after semi-truck left on train tracks

On May 1, two parties filed suit against the employer of a commercial tractor-trailer driver for an incident earlier this year that resulted in injuries for 55 passengers of an Amtrak train. According to documents filed with the federal court in Greenville, North Carolina, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and CSX Transportation Inc., have alleged that a North Carolina trucking company is responsible for the March 9 collision of an Amtrak train with a semi-truck.

The accident occurred in Halifax, North Carolina, near Highway 903/125. According to the complaint, the Amtrak train was carrying passengers to New York when it encountered a big rig with an oversized load blocking a railroad crossing. The commercial tractor was reportedly towing three trailers and escorted by two civilian vehicles at the time of the collision. A North Carolina Highway Patrol car was also with that group of vehicles.

The parties who filed the suit, the plaintiffs, are alleging that the trucking company, the defendant, was negligent because of actions they had failed to take to avoid inherently dangerous situations. In particular, the plaintiffs say that trucking company failed to properly train and supervise their driver and take reasonable precautions to prevent public harm.

Just prior to the collision, the truck driver was attempting to make a left turn onto another roadway yet was unable to complete the maneuver. In addition, no one took the time to alert train officials about the blocked railroad crossing. The plaintiffs have asserted that the crossing is clearly marked with instructions not to stop on the railroad tracks. The subsequent collision resulted in the train becoming derailed as well as injuries to scores of passengers.

Negligent hiring practices and driver training are important things to consider in truck accident lawsuits. Generally, trucking companies are required to review the driving history of truck drivers they hire and exclude those who may pose an unreasonable danger to the public. Trucking companies are also required to ensure that the truck drivers they employ have the necessary training to safely perform their jobs.

North Carolina motorists who have been injured by an unqualified or poorly trained truck driver are entitled to sue those companies who hire those drivers. In some cases, those injured victims can recover compensation from negligent trucking companies. Among other things, that compensation can help them pay for their medical bills.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Amtrak Sues N.C. Trucking Firm Over Crash," Dan McCue, May. 01, 2015

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