Everyone in the country has heard of the Amtrak derailment that happened
in Philadelphia last week. Eight people have died, and scores more were
injured when seven rail cars and the engine jumped the tracks.
Clearly this is a tragedy and it appears that it should not have occurred.
With so many people killed and injured, many people are looking for answers
and the victims and or families thereof are probably contemplating
suing the rail company.
Whether or not civil suit will be successful depends upon the facts surrounding
the derailment. Numerous news stories have been published about the accident
and subsequent investigation. At the present time, many questions still
need answering and it looks like the investigation will continue for a
long time before reaching a conclusion.
Newest news reports indicate that Northeast Regional Train No. 188 was
traveling at acceptable rates of speed until just before the derailment.
For reasons yet unknown, the train conductor accelerated to over 100 miles
per hour at an area where trains decelerate. It seems clear to investigators
that excessive speed contributed to the train derailment. There are also
indicators that the train might have been struck by an object shortly
before the derailment. Reports also have stated that it is normal for
object to be thrown at trains.
Discussions of safety systems such as positive train control have also
been inserted into the situation. Positive train control reportedly prevents
trains from exceeding the recommend speed at various portions of the rail
system. Authorities have even gone so far as to say that positive train
control could have prevented the derailment of Northeast Regional Train
No. 188. At the present time, positive train control is not mandated,
but it will be by the end of 2015.
What we know from the press, than, is the derailment was entirely preventable;
slower speeds could have prevented the accident; positive train control
could have prevented the accident and this system has been installed in
other portions of the railway. Whether or not these facts amount to negligence
will depend upon more investigation, and of course if a suit occurs, the
jury will have to decide. And then there is the issue of a projectile
striking the train.
Experienced railroad accident attorneys in the Kingston areas of New York have handled numerous personal injury lawsuits. In train accidents, both
passengers and railway employees can receive compensation for their injuries.
Rail companies have a duty as an employer to keep the workplace safe. Failing
at such, injured rail workers can be compensated for unsafe work site
conditions and for other forms of negligence committed by the employer.
Rail carriers must also keep passengers from being injured by foreseeable
and preventable accidents. Following laws, industry standards, and basic
safety rules is what rail companies are expected to do. Deviating from
these responsibilities and causing death and or injury can amount to compensable
In fact, passengers and bystanders injured in train accidents have a right
to be compensated for their injuries that were caused by the train company’s
negligence. There are many things that can go wrong that amount to negligence,
and excessive speed is just one of them.
Equipment defects, railroad track defects, improper operation of the train,
improper maintenance of the train and or track, and signaling device defects
are just a few of the things that can lead to a valid claim for negligence
against the train company.
The survivors of train accidents will be traumatized at the very least.
Many others will suffer from serious physical injury; injuries that which
may lead to permanent physical impairment. Other people will unfortunately
die in the crash, or shortly thereafter.
These unfortunate victims too have rights, as do their families. In fact,
the survivors of railway accident decedents can sue the negligent parties
for the wrongful death of their loved one.
Our personal injury attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious car accidents, particularly
throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and
Newburgh where we have offices. If you or a loved one has been injured
in a personal injury accident, please do not hesitate to contact us by
calling 845-340-HURT (4878), or by using our convenient
case evaluation form.