train v. truck accideent requiring back surgery
This action involved a tragic incident wherein Plaintiff sustained severe injuries
requiring back surgery as a result of the negligence and reckless conduct of Defendant
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was operating a tractor trailer rig and was
stopped at a railroad crossing at Hamilton Street facing westbound, waiting for two trains
to clear, one traveling Northbound and the other Southbound in Fresno California. After
one of the trains cleared the intersection and before the second train reached the
intersection, Defendant truck driver being inattentive, failed to observe an oncoming train
and proceeded eastbound through crossing despite the red lights flashing. The train
operator even honked his horn and applied his emergency brakes but he was unable to
stop the train and collided with Defendant truck driver’s tractor at approximately 32 mph.
The rear portion of Defendant truck driver’s trailer was hit by the train. As a result of the
collision, Defendant truck driver’s, tractor collided head on into the driver side of Plaintiff’s
tractor. The property damage to Plaintiff’s tractor was estimated to be $17,335.07.
The reporting officer found Defendant truck driver as the cause of the collision by
being in violation of Vehicle Code §22451: failing to stop at a railroad crossing when the
lights/controls were functioning.
At the time of the incident, Defendant truck driver was within the course and scope
Defendants contended that the red traffic signal for the Defendant was switched off
after the first train passed and did not switch back on for the second train until the
Defendant was already committed to crossing. Defendants also contended that there was
a sufficiently high accident rate at the accident location such that crossing arms or other
action should have been taken by the railroad to prevent the subject accident. Defendants
contended that the City of Fresno was also negligent for not making the intersection safe.
Defendant argued the crossing was changed after Plaintiff’s accident.
Plaintiff contended that he suffered from lower black injuries requiring a fusion
surgery at L5-S1. Plaintiff also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder requiring
psychological counseling. Defendant contended that the Plaintiff suffered only soft tissue
injuries and that numerous treating doctors as well as Plaintiff’s neurological consultants
advised the Plaintiff not to have surgery. Defendants contended that if the Plaintiff required
surgery it was due to degenerative disk disease and not related to trauma. The defendants
contended that the property damage to the Plaintiff’s truck was only sheet metal and could
not have resulted in any physical injury. The Defendants contended that the Plaintiff
suffered pre-existing psychiatric problems unrelated to the accident and that the Plaintiff
was exaggerating and amplifying his symptoms.
In regard to loss of income, Plaintiff contended that he was earning $60,000 per
year as a truck driver and that he was unable to return to work as a result of his accident
related injuries. The Plaintiff sought occupational rehabilitation so that he could return to
employment. The Defendants argued that Plaintiff was able to return to his usual
customary occupation or if not the same occupation, an occupation that earned equal or
* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances. Because every case is different, the descriptions of awards and cases previously handled are not meant to be a guarantee of success.