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A fatal car-train collision last January in Ogden, Ark., is the subject of three pending civil lawsuits.

According to the lawsuits, the driver of the car was attempting to cross the railroad tracks when the vehicle was struck by a Kansas City Southern train, consisting of four locomotives and 37 cars. It was dark and raining at the time of the crash. A 10-year-old boy died at the scene; a male passenger was transported to an area hospital where he later died. The driver sustained serious injuries as a result of the collision.

The complaints alleges that there were no flashing lights or wooden arms to warn drivers of an oncoming train. Additionally, the road crosses the track at a skewed angle, “so a driver approaching from the west has little or no view back to the south. Vegetation also obstructs visibility. The suit also states that the train’s staff failed to sound warning horns or slow down when approaching the hazardous crossing.

The lawsuits allege Kansas City Southern Railway Co. (KCS) knew the crossing was dangerous, but failed to install safety equipment due to cost. The railway “made a deliberate decision that it will be cheaper to pay compensatory damages for claims resulting from car-train collisions than to properly maintain its crossing, upgrade its crossings and properly train its employees on issues involving crossing safety,” states the complaint. The driver is seeking damages for her pain and suffering and for her medical expenses past, current and future and compensation for the permanent damage done to her brain and body. The estates of the deceased are seeking wrongful-death compensation, compensation for final expenses and compensation for the pain and suffering experienced at the time of the deadly crash.

KCS filed a response to the complaint denying any wrongdoing and blamed the collision on the driver.

Since the fatal crash, which is also the site of two prior train-car accidents, officials determined that the crossing qualifies for lighted crossing arms and bells in hopes of preventing future tragedies. The cost is $350,000.

It is sad that two people lost their lives and another seriously injured because the railway believed it was cheaper to take the risk with people’s lives than pay $350,000 for their safety. Safety, and human life, should be considered more important in our society than corporate profit and greed. Lawsuit Financial hopes justice will be quickly served in these civil lawsuits so the families can begin to move forward.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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