Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Victims of Amtrak accident could consider legal action

Pennsylvania has been featured rather heavily in the news recently, but not for a particularly pleasant reason. A terrible crash involving an Amtrak train has brought the potential safety hazards of trains into the public eye and cast doubt on whether trains are truly a safe method of transportation. Official reports indicate that the accident injured more than 200 people and killed eight. Some victims were still in the hospital nearly a week after the accident.

In response to the fatal accident, Amtrak is installing an Automatic Train Control system, which is designed to slow trains automatically to limit the hazards of dangerous areas of track. In fact, the very curve on which the accident occurred already has ATC systems installed, but on the southbound side of the track because it was determined that the northbound track was not a risk.

Official reports indicate that trains are supposed to be traveling no more than 80 mph as they approach the curve, slowing down to 50 during the curve. However, the train that derailed and caused the horrible accident recently was traveling more than 100 mph around the turn, which Amtrak believes is why the train went off the track.

This accident is still fairly recent and the fallout will likely continue to be felt for months or even years. It is worth considering the legal possibilities for Amtrak following this accident, as well as the rights of those who were injured in the accident. Surviving relatives of those who were fatally injured in the accident could file a wrongful death claim and perhaps be compensated for the loss of their loved one. Obviously there are no guarantees, but when one party is found negligent in an accident, that party can often be found liable for injuries.

Source: CNN, "Amtrak installs speed controls at fatal crash site," Melissa Gray, May 17, 2015

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