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8 Killed in Amtrak Train Derailment – Another Preventable Tragedy?

RR crossing freight trainBound for New York, Amtrak No. 188 had nearly 240 passengers aboard when it derailed in Philadelphia, sending 200 to the hospital and killing 8 passengers. Survivors emerged from the scene bloodied and in shock, having been hurtled against walls, flying objects and each other as all seven cars flew off the tracks. Preliminary data points to excessive speed as the primary cause of the train accident, though investigations are still underway. The Amtrak commuter was going 106 mph along a dangerous curved stretch, just before the derailment – a speed that was twice the maximum for that part of the track.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt concedes that excessive speed was evident, but how it got there is another matter yet to be determined.  Over the following days, NTSB officials will be combing over the train’s black box recorder, the condition of the track and the locomotive, as well as human performance by the train’s engineer, 32-year-old Brandon Bostian.

New Jersey personal injury lawyers Eisbrouch Marsh have nearly three decades of experience representing victims of rail and motor vehicle accidents in the Tri-State area, including Bergen County and New York City. Our firm extends our heart-felt condolences to those who have suffered injury or lost a loved one on our region’s public railways.

As advocates for the injured, it is our mission to uncover liability issues in any type of train accident:

  • Poor maintenance of tracks or crossing
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Lack of warning systems
  • Mechanical failure
  • Negligent supervision or training
  • Human error/negligence 

Amtrak train crash preventable with existing technology

Former congressman Patrick Murphy was among the lucky survivors who described the harrowing moments leading up to the derailment. The train and its passenger cars, according to Murphy, seemed to soar through the air before landing in a mangled mass. The horrific wreck isn’t the first to happen along this particular part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. In 1943, another derailment not far from the Frankford Junction claimed the lives of 79 people.

The disheartening aspect for many victims and those who lost a loved one in the Philadelphia Amtrak crash is that it could have been averted with a modern rail safety system – one that is being implemented nationwide by year’s end. Robert Sumwalt says that “positive train control,” which can slow or stop a train that is going too fast, could have prevented this tragedy.

Liability issues loom in Metro-North train crash

Authorities say that more facts must be uncovered to determine fault in the Amtrak derailment. Brake and throttle settings may have malfunctioned, as well as alarm systems in the train engineer’s cab.

Liability issues still loom in the deadly Metro North crash earlier this year, in which the MTA’s Harlem line struck a passenger SUV at a grade crossing near Valhalla. The SUV’s driver along with five commuters perished in the crash. The family of the deceased SUV driver blames the design of the railroad crossing on Commerce Street, claiming it wasn’t their mother’s fault.  Warning lights were slated to be installed at the site of the train accident, but never were.

Info about pursuing a NJ train accident lawsuit

In the wake of a traumatic accident or the loss of a family member, litigation is probably far from your mind. But if negligence or foul play were factors in a preventable tragedy, victims should be aware of their legal rights to compensation. To discuss your case with New Jersey train derailment attorneys, we invite you to call Eisbrouch Marsh for a free consultation.

  1. CNN, Amtrak train thought to be going twice as fast as it should have been http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/13/us/philadelphia-amtrak-train-derailment/
  2. NY Times, Amtrak Train Derailed Going 106 M.P.H. on Sharp Curve; at Least 7 Killed http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/us/amtrak-train-derails-crash-philadelphia.html?_r=1
  3. NY Post, Driver’s family faults MTA for deadly Metro-North crash http://nypost.com/2015/05/04/family-of-driver-sues-railroad-over-deadly-metro-north-crash/