Negligence in Amtrak Train Accidents

Train Accidents Caused by Negligence

Amtrak train accidents have been in the news lately, with the most recent being one in Missouri. The crash occurred recently in a rural area of the state and involved the Amtrak train and a dump truck. Four people died in the collision, including the dump truck driver and three passengers on the train, and somewhere around 150 people were injured, with a number of them hospitalized. Although the train was speeding along at 90 mph, the dump truck driver is being blamed for the accident. 

When You’ve Been Injured in a Railroad Accident

Unfortunately, railroad accidents are common, and while a pedestrian, driver or others are sometimes responsible, negligence by the railway can also lead to serious crashes with multiple injuries and fatalities. When these collisions occur, railways can be quick to blame the driver or others even though the company itself may be negligent. As a result of our experience in taking on passenger, civilian and Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) injury cases, we regularly handle claims against Amtrak successfully.

Negligence as a Cause of a Railroad Accident

Causes of train accidents can include:

  • Human error by a motorist, pedestrian or railway employee
  • Defective tracks
  • Railroad crossings that are unprotected
  • Defective or unmaintained railroad crossings
  • Defective or poorly maintained railroad tracks
  • Speeding by the engineer
  • Derailments
  • Unsafe working conditions

Outdated Equipment and Technology Can Lead to Train Accidents

A lot of the technology on trains and used by railroads is terribly outdated, going back decades. Although improved technologies are available, they are costly. For example, Congress required that Positive Train Control (PTC) be implemented starting in 2018, which is designed to improve safety. Improvements by instituting this system would help prevent crashes between trains, high-speed train derailments and accidents at grade crossings. 

According to some estimates, two-thirds of U.S. commuter railroads missed implementing this system by the deadline. It has only been installed for 45 percent of the tracks owned by freight railroads. Railways operating passenger trains have only had it installed for 24 percent of their tracks. 

Accidents at Railroad Crossings That Are Unprotected

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of railroad crossings, including those used by Amtrak trains, lack proper warning devices like gates and lights. Unprotected crossings account for more than 50 percent of all train accidents. The most common causes of railroad crossing accidents are driver error, obstructed views, and the conductor failing to sound an alarm.

Malfunctioning Signal Crossings

A signal crossing that malfunctions can lead to serious injury accidents, even if a train is not approaching. Most of these accidents are caused by an aged signal crossing or one that is improperly maintained. Signal failures can be due to damaged or defective axle counters or track circuits. 

Common causes include cuts, rust, high temperatures, and moisture penetration but may also occur because cable thieves have cut the cables to remove the copper inside. The result can be that the arm doesn’t go down or comes down even when an Amtrak train isn’t approaching, and the lights and alarms don’t function correctly. It is the railway’s duty to have crossings regularly inspected and repaired to ensure they are kept in good working order.

Employee Injuries in an Amtrak Train Accident

When a railroad worker is injured or killed because of company negligence, they or their family have the right to sue the railway to recover damages under FELA law 45 U.S.C. § 51. The claim may not be denied due to contributory negligence. When you have been injured or lost a loved one, our injury lawyers can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Sacramento Train Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento train accident lawyer. Train and railroad employee accidents may be complex, and multiple companies may be liable. For help with your case, call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice from our injury lawyers. You can also contact us online

Our law firm has helped many people recover fair compensation over the years, as you can see below:

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Photo attribution: Image by Ray Miller from Pixabay 

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