Last month, a man was struck and killed in Elk River by a Northstar commuter train after walking into an area off limits for pedestrians, about two miles north of the Northstar station in Elk River. The accident, according to reports, killed the man instantly, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, making for the third fatality involving the Northstar commuter line since it started up there in 2009. The line, as readers may know, runs between Big Lake and downtown Minneapolis and supporters thousands of commuters daily.
On its website, Metro Transit provides information regarding passenger safety for commuters using the Northtar Line. Recommendations include things like: crossing rail tracks only at marked crossings; slowing down and being attentive at rail stations; paying attention to and obeying warnings signs and signals; and avoiding obstruction of tracks. From the sounds of this case, there was no fault on the part of the train operator, though it doesn’t always happen that way.
Train accidents can, of course, involve pedestrians and motorists, as well as cyclists. The number of train accidents that occur in the state of Minnesota is not negligible. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the number of motor vehicle/train crashes has been on the decline overall, but there was an increase in 2013.
While there are a variety of factors that can lead to train accidents, it is important for accident victims to understand their right to seek recovery for crashes stemming from the recklessness or negligence of a train operator or railroad company. Because of the specific issues that can come up in these cases, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Source: MPR News, “Man struck by Northstar train in Elk River dies,” Matt Sepic and Tim Nelson, October 23, 2014.