An unidentified man was killed by a Tri-Rail Train in Fort Lauderdale, Florida earlier today. According to news reports, the man was struck by a Tri-Rail Train at approximately 7:15 a.m. in the area of Sunrise Boulevard and N.W. 6th Street. This case is still an open investigation and is being looked into by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
Given my perspective as an injury lawyer, I can tell you that a lot of very important information is needed before any case assessment can be made. Above all else, we need to know where the accident actually happened.
Was the man crossing the tracks in a designated pedestrian crossing area or was he trespassing on railroad property and attempting to cross in an unauthorized area where a train operator would not reasonably expect to see pedestrians?
In the alternative, even if the man did cross at an area that is not necessarily designated for pedestrians, did he cross in an area where the railroad knows there is substantial pedestrian traffic.
If so, the railroad may be liable to the man’s family for his death.
In other words, some areas in our city have worn out foot paths that cross through grassy areas and away from sidewalks and other roadways. They are nonetheless used by pedestrians on a regular basis. So much so, a foot path may be carved out into the sand and grass.
If it can be proven that the accident happened in such an area and the railroad knew of the pedestrian traffic, but failed to take reasonable precautions, such as tooting a horn or driving slow as it approached the area, the railroad may be held accountable.
At the end of the day, a thorough police investigation is necessary. If the man simply crossed the tracks, carelessly or was drunk or in complete disregard for an oncoming train, the railroad may not be held accountable.
I am sure the truth lies somewhere in between these two points.
Above all, it is important to remember that a man lost his life here. If for no other reason, a complete investigation is necessary to prevent such accidents from happening in the future.
My condolences go out to the man’s family. I am sorry that this accident had to happen the day after Christmas. What a tragedy.