Litigation Type - Train Accidents
Client Injury - Death
Our client and 3 friends were driving across a railroad crossing in Anoka County when their car was hit by a freight train and they were all killed. Bill Bongard represented the family of one of the teens. He and attorneys for the other teens filed a claim against the BNSF railroad for negligence in causing their deaths.
The railroad failed to supply much of the information that was requested (including the data from the event recorder at the railroad crossing), provided incomplete records in some instances and manufactured evidence in others.
Settlement attempts were futile and litigation expenses mounted for what was a relatively simple case; if the crossing arm was down, the boys were at fault for driving around the arm. If the gate arm was up, the railroad was at fault.
It took more than 4 years of discovery and 6 weeks of trial but the plaintiffs' lawyers convinced a jury that it was a failure of the cross arms that led to the crash. The jury, in turn, ordered the railroad to pay the families $24 Million. After waiting over 5 years for justice, the teens' families were able to dispel the suggestions that the victims tried to beat the train to the crossing.