John M. Kirby
Frazier v. Carolina Coastal Railway; Contributory Negligence of Motorist on Railroad Tracks
In Frazier v. Carolina Coastal Railway the Court of Appeals (on 11/19/2013) held that a motorist was contributorily negligent as a matter of law for traveling upon and staying upon a railroad track, when she was struck by a train.
In this case, the motorist was familiar with the railroad tracks, which were preceded by various warnings. The motorist drove upon the tracks in daylight, with a clear view for 462 feet. She failed to stop at a stop line. She admitted to sitting on the tracks for at least 20 seconds prior to the collision, and she had sufficient room to move forward. The lower court had ruled that the lack of active signalization (lights and gates) was not gross negligence, which would have allowed the claim to proceed. Summary judgment was affirmed.
John Kirby has handled hundreds of cases involving contributory negligence, and has written on the subject.