A recent derailment of an Amtrak train headed to New York City from Washington tragically left eight people dead and some 200 more with injuries. The event took place near Philadelphia, where the nation’s most fatal train accident occurred in 1943, killing 79 people. This is considered the busiest stretch of railroad in the US. Currently, trains on that route are permitted to drive 100 miles per hour with a reduction in speed while going through an urban or residential area. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have engaged in an investigation to determine the cause of the fatal derailment which is expected to last twelve months. Since the investigation ensued, no equipment failure has been found, but the possibility of engineer negligence is still being considered. Since the accident, new speed controls have been installed at the curve where the incident took place.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were a total of 3,000 railroad and train accidents nationwide in 2006. While this number dropped to 1,755 in 2014, the number of deaths as a result of railroad accidents has not decreased. Taking into account pedestrians who were killed on the tracks, a total of 813 people were killed in 2014 as a result of train accidents, including 226 on Amtrak railroads.
There can be many factors that contribute to these accidents such as mechanical or equipment failure, poorly maintained tracks, and negligence on the part of the conductor. Some train collisions can also result in hazardous chemicals being spilled, as it is estimated that approximately every two weeks a train carrying such materials is derailed.
The House Appropriations Committee had previously scheduled a meeting for the same morning as the accident to discuss increasing funding to implement repairs to Amtrak’s aging infrastructure in an effort to boost passenger safety.
If you or a loved one is injured as a result of a train accident or derailment, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who will get you the compensation you deserve. Call the attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212) 571-7171.