The legal ramifications of the recent Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia figure to play out over the next few months and even years. One recent development that could impact potential liability and lawsuits is the revelation that investigators did not discover mechanical malfunctions in the train derailment.
Last month’s derailment of Amtrak train 188, which occurred just north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, resulted in eight deaths, more than 200 injuries and in excess of $9 million worth of property damage. A few of the survivors, some of whom suffered significant injuries as a result of the derailment, have already filed personal injury lawsuits against the Amtrak rail service. The loved ones of family members who were killed in the train accident could also potentially file wrongful death lawsuits.
The ability of these individuals to recover damages will be affected by a number of factors, including federal regulations that limit the total amount of compensation in a single train crash, the number of claims filed in the case and the precise cause of the derailment.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), investigators who have been going over every detail of the crash discovered “no anomalies” as far as the train’s braking systems, signals and track geometry. NTSB investigators have been searching through the wreckage in Delaware, where the train’s cars and locomotive were sent after the accident.
At the time of the deadly crash, the train was reportedly traveling at 106 miles per hour. The high speed is particularly alarming since the train was moving through a restricted area in which the maximum allowable speed was just 50 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the speed of the train meant that the activation of the emergency brake system, reportedly only a few seconds before the crash, was not enough to prevent derailment.
The NTSB did caution, however, that the findings are preliminary; more details about a possible mechanical failure could emerge as the investigation continues. Investigators are still looking into other possible causes of the crash. One reported cause that has yet to be substantiated is a claim that a rock, or some other projectile, hit the train prior to derailment. NTSB investigators are still seeking evidence that might suggest that a rock, or possibly even a bullet from a gun, struck the train’s windshield and caused the accident. A determination about the exact cause of the derailment will certainly have implications for civil liability in the case.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury in a motor vehicle, bus or train accident, contact the attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC. We will fight for you in court and help you secure maximum compensation in your personal injury claim. Call us today for a free consultation.