Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Woman Seriously Injured by BNSF Train at Dangerous, Unguarded Crossing

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Tower City, North Dakota – September 21, 2013)

This incident happened at a dangerous, unguarded crossing that lacked any active warning devices, such as flashing lights and gates. It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both BNSF 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%.

A 54-year-old motorist, Dawn Flaig of Leonard, ND, had her nearly-new 2012 GMC Acadia totaled Saturday evening at about 7:15 P.M. at the intersection of BNSF railroad tracks and 134th Avenue Southwest on the east edge of Tower City, ND, when she was hit by a BNSF train. She was air-lifted to Essentia Health Hospital in Fargo, ND, where she was admitted in undetermined condition for numerous injuries.

Dawm Flaig was traveling northbound on the county, gravel road when her full-size SUV Crossover was struck by the westbound train, totaled, and ended up in a trackside ditch with the dazed and severely injured victim still inside the wreckage.

According to Federal Railroad Administration-kept, railroad-generated records, an average of 20 BNSF trains cross the 134th Ave. SW intersection daily at a top allowable speed of 60 mph.

The driver was also issued a traffic ticket courtesy of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, for failing to yield to a train she probably never saw nor heard. Public agency law enforcement officers are frequently trained and encouraged by their railroad police counterparts to issue tickets to motorists, regardless of injury or non-existence of active protective devices such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates, in order to establish the appearance of guilt on the part of the victim. 


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