Everyone knows that collisions with cars, motorcycles and trucks happen every day throughout New Jersey, but train accidents are also a dangerous reality. When a pedestrian is struck by a train, the consequences can be even more severe and often fatal.

Recently, a Newark-bound train with 150 passengers on board struck a pedestrian. The victim, a 35-year-old Somerville resident, was struck and killed by the train around 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 18. According to a spokesperson for NJ Transit, the incident took place near the Somerset Street crossing, which is west of the station. The NJ Transit Police are still investigating.

NJ Transit confirmed that 14 people have been killed in train collisions this year, and the agency has reminded pedestrians of the dangers of walking on the tracks. Pedestrians and motorists are also advised that trains may come at any time, from any direction. In addition, to get across the tracks, people should use designated crossings areas and avoid going around or under the lowered-position crossing gates.

Drivers should also make sure that there is more than enough space for the vehicle to cross the tracks and be aware of traffic that may avert the vehicle from clearing the rail tracks smoothly. NJ Transit has implemented safety programs in public and private schools each year to raise awareness about train safety.

It is also important to remember that, in cases in which a person is injured by a train, the train company or transit authority may be held liable for damages if recklessness or negligence is proven. If this happens, the compensation can vary depending on the exact cause of the collision.

In the event of a fatal pedestrian accident, the victim’s family may be entitled to compensation by filing a wrongful death claim that can ease their financial burden by covering funeral expenses, medical costs and lost wages.

Source: mycentraljersey.com, “NJ Transit train strikes, kills man in Somerville,” Pamela MacKenzie, Oct. 18, 2012