Train accidents happen all too often and, when they do, the havoc they wreak is sometimes immeasurable. When all that raw power and weight gets momentum behind it, there can be no stopping it. It will tear through everything in its path, leaving serious injuries, death and catastrophic destruction in its wake.

It happened again in May of this year when a man got his tractor-trailer stuck at a train crossing in California. Unable to move it, and with a train bearing down, he got out of the cab and waved to the driver to stop. The driver either didn’t see or was unable to stop in time and the train slammed in the the 18-wheeler, rending it in half and strewing debris everywhere in the vicinity. The driver of the truck was able to jump out of the way at the last moment.

A casual observer might look at this crash and say the truck driver is at fault because he got his semi lodged on the tracks. However, a case like this warrants further review. Reports say that this intersection is known to be a problem for truck drivers. The way it’s constructed means drivers have to get up to speed to make it over the tracks. If officials are aware of this issue and did nothing about it, should they be at fault? Was there proper signage warning of the potential hazard? Why was it never fixed? Did the train driver miss the window of opportunity to stop because he or she was distracted?

Luckily, no one was injured or killed in this accident, but that’s not always the case. If you’ve been negatively impacted by a train accident — whether it is the train’s fault or not — a California attorney can hear your story and help you decide the best course of action.