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Railroad-Vehicles Struck Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Summarizes Railroad-Vehicles Struck Cases

Brien Roche

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Railroad-Vehicles Struck. For more information about railroads see the pages on Wikipedia. 

Railroad-Vehicles Struck-Statutes

See Va. Code §§ 46.2-884 through 46.2-887.


1984 Virginia & Md. Ry. v. White, 228 Va. 140, 319 S.E.2d 755.

When gates, lights, and other automatic safeguards are installed at railroad crossings to warn travelers, traveler has right to presume that safeguards would be reasonably well-maintained and to place some reliance upon them. He is not required to exercise same degree of care and caution as will be required of him when no safeguards are maintained. In this case, decedent was very familiar with crossing, having crossed it about twice a day for three or four years. Jury issue was presented as to his negligence.

1978 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Greenfield, 219 Va. 122, 244 S.E.2d 781.

Wrongful death action. Jury issue created as to negligence of railroad company in creating obstruction of view along right of way with bushes and trees, for operating train at unreasonable rate of speed and for failing to maintain proper lookout; however, insufficient evidence to create jury issue as to giving of proper signal, and contributory negligence of plaintiff established as matter of law. If signals not properly given, then rule of comparative negligence applies.

1976 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Wright, 217 Va. 515, 229 S.E.2d 890.

Railroad locomotive struck vehicle at crossing inside corporate limits. No duty to sound warning in corporate limits. Even if blown, fair inference that driver would not have been mentally or physically able to properly react as postmortem blood test showed 0.13 alcohol weight content.

1976 Bunn v. Norfolk, F. & D. Ry., 217 Va. 45, 225 S.E.2d 375.

Rights of traveler on highway and of railroad company are mutual, reciprocal, and co-extensive. Generally, moving train is accorded right of way. Contributory negligence as matter of law for failing to hear and heed warning.

1971 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Gilliam, 211 Va. 542, 178 S.E.2d 499.

Code requirements of warning not applicable to public grade crossing within corporate limits of cities and towns. Requirements discussed. Plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law.

1965 Skinner v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 206 Va. 649, 145 S.E.2d 170.

Even if plaintiff was negligent, this will not bar claim if railroad failed to give statutory warning. Plaintiff must still prove negligence on part of defendant. At railroad crossing, rights of railroad and motorist are reciprocal and co-extensive but generally moving train has right of way.

1965 Chesapeake & O.R.R. v. Kinzer, 206 Va. 175, 142 S.E.2d 514.

Where warning signals required by law are not given, then contributory negligence of plaintiff will not bar recovery but may be considered in mitigation of damages. In this case, signal was not required by law.

1965 Poole v. Hassell, 206 Va. 97, 141 S.E.2d 707.

Vehicle struck at crossing. Plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence, but under Va. Code § 56-416, if railroad failed to give statutory signal and that contributed to accident, then defendant liable. Question as to whether signal given for jury since there was positive testimony on both sides.

1959 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Hagy, 201 Va. 183, 110 S.E.2d 177.

Accident occurred in incorporated town and therefore statutory rules on signals and comparative negligence not applicable. Defendant still negligent for not giving signal, but plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law for failure to maintain proper lookout.

1959 Ritter Corp. v. Rose, 200 Va. 736, 107 S.E.2d 479.

Heavy earth moving equipment struck on railroad tracks.

1959 Sykes v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 200 Va. 559, 106 S.E.2d 734.

Verdict entered for defendant on ground that motorist was found to be guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law. Several witnesses testified that they had heard and seen warning signals given prior to approach of train. Evidence of customary and usual type of crossing signal that is used in area was properly excluded since need for such protection depends on special features of each crossing.

1959 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Sykes, 200 Va. 541, 106 S.E.2d 734.

Sole duty of railroad is to give approaching motorist reasonable and timely warning of approach of train.

1958 Railway Co. v. Barden, 200 Va. 98, 104 S.E.2d 13.

Positive testimony outweighs negative evidence.

1957 Mann v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 199 Va. 604, 101 S.E.2d 535.

Vehicle struck at private crossing. Plaintiff contributorily negligent as matter of law for failure to maintain lookout.

1956 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Fletcher, 198 Va. 397, 94 S.E.2d 251.

Virginia Code § 56-414 requiring crossing signal applies only to grade crossings of public highway outside of incorporated town. This does not relieve railroad of its common-law duty to give adequate warning. Motorist before crossing railroad crossing is obliged to look before crossing and to see that which is there to be seen.

1955 Norfolk & P.R.R. v. C.F. Mueller Co., 197 Va. 533, 90 S.E.2d 135.

Plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law having driven onto blind railroad crossing without taking proper precautions. Moreover, no evidence of negligence on part of defendants was presented.

1955 Southern Ry. v. Wilson, 196 Va. 883, 86 S.E.2d 53.

Where city’s ordinances concerning railroad crossing signals are permissive only, rule of comparative negligence is inapplicable and normal rule of contributory negligence will apply.

1955 Chesapeake & O. Ry. v. Hanes, 196 Va. 806, 86 S.E.2d 122.

Under state code, contributory negligence of traveller in approaching railroad crossing does not bar recovery where there is evidence that failure of railroad to give required signal proximately contributed in any degree or in any way to injury; contributory negligence considered in mitigation of damages.

1953 Bangley v. Virginian Ry., 195 Va. 340, 78 S.E.2d 696.

Plaintiff injured when he drove his truck onto defendant’s tracks at street crossing and was struck by approaching train. Jury verdict for defendant upheld. Evidence showed headlight was burning, view down track was unobstructed, statutory signals given, and plaintiff familiar with crossing. Under circumstances, defendant not negligent, as matter of law, in failing to provide warning signal or safety precaution in addition to usual “crossbuck” sign required by code.

1952 Norfolk S. Ry. v. Lassiter, 193 Va. 360, 68 S.E.2d 641.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Plaintiff’s decedent struck and killed by train at crossing. Plaintiff driving tractor-trailer. Statutory signals not given. Contributory negligence no bar to recovery.

1952 Virginian Ry. v. Craighead, 193 Va. 300, 68 S.E.2d 647.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Plaintiff injured when electric engine struck automobile. Failure to give statutory crossing signals. Virginia Code §§ 56-414 and 56-416 applicable; contributory negligence, therefore, was not bar to recovery.

1951 Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Withers, 192 Va. 493, 65 S.E.2d 654.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Plaintiff alleged insufficient warning of train at crossing. Verdict for plaintiff.

1951 Danville &amp.W. Ry. v. Chattin, 192 Va. 216, 64 S.E.2d 748.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Failure of train to utilize bell or whistle prior to crossing presented jury question as to whether this negligence was proximate cause of accident.

1951 Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Bowen, 192 Va. 162, 63 S.E.2d 804.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Jury question presented as to whether omission of crossbuck sign or failure to maintain at dangerous crossing, signal device reasonably adequate to warn driver of approach of train was proximate cause of collision.

1950 Seaboard Air Line R.R. v. Crowder, 191 Va. 635, 62 S.E.2d 227.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Car stalled on tracks. Plaintiff’s decedent failed to remove himself from vehicle. In failing to remove himself from place of danger, after car stopped on track, deceased was guilty of negligence which was proximate cause of his death.

1950 Horsley v. Chesapeake & O.R.R., 191 Va. 628, 61 S.E.2d 868.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Plaintiff’s truck struck by defendant’s train. Truck stalled on tracks; two passengers in truck saw train in time to leave vehicle and get to safety. Plaintiff was warned of approaching train twice before impact; however, instead of leaving vehicle he chose to stay and attempt to start and remove it from crossing. Contributory negligence as matter of law.

1950 Shortt v. Hudson Supply & Equip. Co., 191 Va. 306, 60 S.E.2d 900.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Employee aboard train was injured in collision allegedly caused by defendants. Employee sued defendants after settling with his employer. Held: release of one joint tortfeasor releases all.

1950 Wray v. Norfolk & W. Ry., 191 Va. 212, 61 S.E.2d 65.

Garbage truck struck by train at railroad crossing. Defendant’s verdict upheld. Contributory negligence as matter of law as decedent was guilty of reckless disregard of all precautions for his own safety. Doctrine of comparative negligence for failure to give railroad crossing signals not applicable.

1949 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Epling, 189 Va. 551, 53 S.E.2d 817.

Train strikes vehicle at crossing. Driver of vehicle held to be guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law. Statutory signals given, thus eliminating doctrine of comparative negligence.

1949 Butler v. Darden, 189 Va. 459, 53 S.E.2d 146.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Train strikes vehicle at crossing. Guest passenger in vehicle guilty of contributory negligence for failing to look, listen, and warn his driver of approaching train which he should have seen.

1949 Chesapeake & O. Ry. v. Faison, 189 Va. 341, 52 S.E.2d 865.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Vehicle struck while stalled on tracks. Area held not to be public crossing and plaintiff was held to be bare licensee and took crossing as he found it.

1948 Ivory Storage Co. v. ACLR Co., 187 Va. 857, 48 S.E.2d 242.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Vehicle struck at dangerous crossing. Duty of traveller to look and listen for train when he knows of existence of crossing is different from that of traveller who is ignorant of its existence.

1948 Powell v. Virginian Ry., 187 Va. 384, 46 S.E.2d 429.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Railroad car parked on tracks partially obstructing crossing was struck by vehicle.

1947 Southern Ry. v. Thompson, 186 Va. 106, 41 S.E.2d 456.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Absence of warning devices at crossing does not relieve traveller of all care. He must still exercise ordinary care and cannot rely solely on absence of such warning devices. If driver drives blindly across crossing, then recovery will be barred.

1946 Chesapeake & O. Ry. v. Pulliam, 185 Va. 908, 41 S.E.2d 54.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Contributory negligence is not bar to recovery in railroad crossing cases where failure of railroad to give signal in any way contributed to accident. Contributory negligence may be considered in mitigation of damages. Road across railroad tracks was held to be public highway as matter of law.

1946 Woodrum v. Holland, 185 Va. 690, 40 S.E.2d 169.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Vehicle struck at railroad crossing. Defendant’s uncontradicted evidence was that reason decedent was killed was because he opened car door, jumped out, and fell in front of train.

1946 VEPCO v. Holland, 184 Va. 893, 37 S.E.2d 40.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Vehicle proceeding on green light struck by train. Verdict for plaintiff. Gross negligence for defendant to utterly disregard her duties.

1946 ACLR Co. v. Clements, 184 Va. 656, 36 S.E.2d 553.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Burden of proof on plaintiff to show railroad negligent in failing to give adequate and timely notice of the approach of train. Town where accident occurred prohibited blowing of locomotive whistle within town limits. This did not relieve railroad company from common-law duty to give adequate, reasonable, and timely warning.

1945 Godwin v. Camp Mfg. Co., 183 Va. 528, 32 S.E.2d 674.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck. Train blocking crossing. Vehicle strikes stationary train that was unlit. Jury issue presented.

1943 VEPCO v. Evans, 181 Va. 274, 24 S.E.2d 446.

Railroad-Vehicles Struck.Contributory negligence exists as matter of law where motorist is familiar with railroad crossing, traffic condition ahead is open and obvious, visibility is poor, stops on tracks for period of about 30 seconds while traffic is congested in his lane but where he has alternative of pulling off track or backing up.

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Railroad-Vehicles Struck Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

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