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How hard is it to get to the bottom of liability?

With all the major events going on in the world this particular story might have slipped by the notice of a lot of San Antonio-area readers. An Amtrak passenger train crashed into a wide-load semitrailer truck and derailed last week out East. Some 55 people were left injured, but not the truck driver.

The circumstances have more than a few people asking questions about how this accident involving a truck occurred. One of the major issues reportedly being examined is whether steps that common sense and regulations require were overlooked or ignored. If they were, any victim seeking to recover due compensation for their injuries could be facing a challenge trying to trace the line of full liability. It's in situations like this that a skilled attorney's help is helpful.

This truck-train accident occurred March 9 in North Carolina. According to official reports, the driver of the truck was hauling an oversized load and failed to make a tight turn across the railroad tracks at a crossing. The truck was sitting across the tracks when the Amtrak train came and plowed into it.

Matters that seem to be in question include whether the trucker and escorting authorities had done the necessary work of making sure the route was clear. Also, were rail dispatch officials notified about the truck's route, as regulations require? There's a sign right at the crossing that provides a toll-free number to call so that rail dispatchers can stop trains in an emergency. Did anyone make such a call?

One other element getting deeper investigation is the history of the driver. It turns out that the trucker is a convicted felon and has a long record of traffic infractions. He reportedly has a valid commercial license, and state law doesn't require him to pass a criminal background check. But federal rules require such checks and it's not clear if the driver's employer conducted one.

All this could make it hard to get to the heart of who bears full responsibility for damages.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Truck driver in Amtrak crash in NC has history of violations," Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss, AP, March 12, 2015

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