Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Motorist Seriously Injured at Obscured, Dangerous, Unguarded Norfolk Southern Crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Knoxville, Tennessee – February 7, 2014)

The obscured, dangerous and unguarded crossing of Buchanan Avenue and Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks near the street’s intersection with North Broadway in the northern part of Knoxville, TN was the site of another non-fatal injury accident Friday morning at about 7:22 A.M. when an as-yet unnamed male motorist failed to see an oncoming train hidden from his view by trackside buildings.

The crossing, which, even though obscured on all four quadrants by either commercial buildings or heavy tree foliage, has only passive railroad cross-buck signs to notify drivers that railroad tracks cross there, but no active signalization which, and only if properly operating, could give motorists warning of trains approaching the crossing. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights can gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.

The Federal Railroad Administration says is an average of 14 daily freight trains that can operate at speeds as high as 50 mph through that rail corridor. The FRA records also indicate that Friday’s near tragedy was the seventh accident occurring and fifth injury suffered at the road/rail intersection.

The driver was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a significant head injury after his Mitsubishi Eclipse was struck on the rear passenger side, spun around, and deposited, with heavy damage, in a trackside ditch. The impact from the train also caused the vehicle to knock down one of the passive cross-buck signs.


Railroad News


Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James Perrin Lubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluen Harriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. Miller Mandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. Clark Austin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert Schuetze Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike Easley Arkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger Brown Jefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth Hardy Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8