Gochenour was riding in a car driven by a friend when it crossed a railroad
track and was struck by a train. Joan was seriously injured.
later sued the railroad company. According to Joan, the company had a legal
duty to keep trees, bushes and other vegetation near the crossing trimmed in
such a way that motorists would have a clear view of whether there was an
oncoming train – which the company failed to do in this case.
in Indiana allowed the lawsuit, and said a jury should decide whether the
railroad had properly trimmed the vegetation within 1,500 feet of the crossing.
trees are not just a problem at railroad crossings. There have been a number of
lawsuits claiming unruly bushes and trees have caused car accidents at
intersections by blocking the view of turning traffic, or have made roadways
unsafe in other ways, such as by obscuring the visibility of stop signs,
speed-limit signs and other warnings and roadway conditions.