Trains are a convenient form of transportation for many people. They allow for travel across great distances at fast speeds and significantly reduce commute times. Many people believe they are a safer alternative to driving and riding in cars and buses. However, trains do not eliminate the risks associated with transportation-related accidents. Trains do not have the same protective structures and safety features cars have. When train accidents happen, the results are often catastrophic. Passengers are likely to sustain serious injuries and die.
Recently, an Amtrak train traveling more than 78 miles per hour derailed as it went around a curve in a 30-mile zone near the Dupont area. 12 of the train’s cars and the front locomotive fell off the track onto the interstate below. Nearly 80 passengers sustained injuries and three people died.
The train’s assistant conductor was not familiar with the route and was in observation mode. He suffered life-threatening injuries that he is expected to recover from. The 48-year-old male assistant conductor was not in charge of managing the train. He claims that since he was learning the route and aboard the train in an observation capacity, he was not responsible for the accident.
According to the first lawsuits filed against Amtrak for the incident, the company has a history of providing inadequate training for its workers, especially its engineers and conductors. The route has a steep incline that increased the speed of the train. The claims allege Amtrak was aware of the dangers the route posed and did not take proper actions to mitigate them. The lawsuits also allege the train lacked the technology necessary (positive train control) to slow itself down to prevent derailment. More lawsuits are expected to follow.
Anyone who was a passenger on the train at the time of the derailment, injured by the falling cars and debris and their loved ones may qualify for compensation. They should contact an attorney for assistance with their claims.
Source: Kiro7.com, “Lawsuits filed against Amtrak over train derailment,” Ranji Sinha, Feb. 1, 2018