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Car-train accident raises questions about New York railroad

By now readers may have heard about the tragic car accident involving a train and an SUV that killed six people in New York. It was the deadliest accident ever for the Metro-North commuter rail.

The wreck took place at night at a tricky railroad crossing. The spot featured backed-up traffic and an on-off area that required drivers to cross train tracks. A driver got caught on the tracks when a railroad crossing gate came crashing onto her SUV. She then moved forward, which put her into the path of the surging train.

The collision was intense. The train carried the SUV more than 300 yards and caused pieces of the electrified third rail to puncture both the SUV and the train. An ensuing fire devoured both the SUV and the front of the train.

Confusion remains about exactly what happened. Many people want to know exactly why the woman got caught in the crossing area. One question, for example, is why the railroad crossing gate did not automatically go up when they hit the woman's SUV. Normally, these gates are designed to do just that -- go up when they hit something on the way down.

Nor is this case an isolated incident. In the last two years, the Metro-North route has had a number of accidents, including a 2013 accident that killed four people. Investigations have repeatedly found the railroad at fault in these accidents.

New Yorkers who find themselves in a car accident, whether involving another car, SUV, semi-truck or train, may benefit attorney deeper understanding of their legal rights. This understanding could be the first step towards getting the compensation they need and deserve.

Source: Fox News, "Behavior of SUV driver in deadly New York commuter train crash under scrutiny," Feb. 5, 2015

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