Car Accident Lawyer Gets $9M Verdict for the Family of a Truck Driver Who Was Killed By a Train at a Railroad Crossing in 2013

June 21st, 2019

Philadelphia car crash lawyer

By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq.


The family of a 60-year-old Oklahoma truck driver who died in 2013 when a train smashed into his rig at a non-gated railroad crossing as he was loading a trackhoe onto a trailer has been awarded a $9 million jury verdict.

The victim, Richard Knight, of Edmond, Oklahoma, was killed on May 8, 2013, when a BNSF Railway train operating on a track near U.S. Highway 64 in the town of Lela smashed into the truck at about 44 mph, according to a May 2 story in The Oklahoman.

Knight was picking up the trackhoe after it was used to demolish a building at the crossing that was blocking sightlines at the crossing, the story reported. Eight previous train crashes had occurred at the site of the crash.

Attorneys for Knight’s family argued that the railroad knew that safety and sightline problems existed at the crossing before the fatal crash but that railroad officials did nothing to fix the situation.

The railroad crossing only had stationary railroad crossing “crossbuck” signs, but lacked lights, bells or arms to prevent vehicles from crossing when a train was present.

The demolished building was owned by the railroad, but was on land leased from Morrison Grain, according to the story. Instead of taking the structure down with its own workers, the railroad required Morrison Grain to remove the structure through a provision in the lease for the property.

The problem with that approach, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs,  was that it circumvented the railroad’s own safety rules because it allowed the railroad to avoid placing an employee at the demolition site, the story reported. “If the railroad had done the work and had an on-site construction manager, the railroad’s rules would have required operators of passing trains to communicate with that employee and to pass through the construction zone at reduced speeds,” which could have prevented the tragedy, the story continued.

The jury ruled that the railroad was 70% responsible for the fatal crash and that Knight was 30% responsible, the story reported. The family was awarded 70% of the $9 million verdict, or $6.3 million, in compensatory damages. The jury ruled that the railroad had recklessly disregarded safety involving a dangerous road-rail intersection.

Legal cases like this one occur around the nation every day and are examples of similar kinds of car crash cases that MyPhillyLawyer attorneys regularly work on tirelessly for our own clients. Often, we are not able to discuss the cases we are actively working on due to confidentiality requirements, so we discuss other relevant cases in the news such as this one to illustrate the legal situations people find themselves in every day.

When you need a car accident injury attorney, we here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of car crash, slip and fall, workplace injury or wrongful death in Philadelphia or anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the compassionate, dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Talk to a Philadelphia car crash attorney at MyPhillyLawyer by calling 215-914-5471 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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Listen to Court Radio every Sunday at 7 a.m. with me, attorney Dean Weitzman of MyPhillyLawyer, on Philadelphia’s Old School 100.3 WRNB, Boom 103.9 or on Classix 107.9 WPPZ FM. Listen to Court Radio online or on the radio every week for the latest on legal topics and to get answers to your legal questions. In addition to addressing the topical issues of the day, we’ll answer caller questions on a wide range of legal issues.

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