Amtrak Train 188 departed from Washington, D.C. headed to New York in typical fashion. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until the train derailed shortly after 9 p.m. resulting in death, destruction, and mayhem. The Amtrak train was reportedly carrying 238 passengers and five crew members. At least five deaths have been reported and over 140 people had to be taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries, which included serious burns and bone fractures, according to Yahoo News.
"It is an absolute disastrous mess," Mayor Michael Nutter said, according to the Yahoo News article. "I've never seen anything like this in my life." Here is a video of Mayer Nutter's news conference about this tragic derailment:
Cause of the Train Derailment
As of the date of this posting, Amtrak stated that it did not know the exact cause of the derailement, but was investigating the tragic wreck. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are also investigating. However, some of the passengers on the train revealed that the train may not have been traveling at a safe speed. For example, Jillian Jorgensen, a passenger, said the train was going "fast enough for me to be worried" when it began a hard bank to the right, according to the aforementioned Yahoo News article.
The front of the train was reportedly going into a turn when it started to shake before coming to a sudden stop. Another passenger stated that "the train started to decelerate, like someone had slammed the brake."
The derailment occurred at Frankford Junction, which is known to have a big curve. It's actually close to one of the deadliest train accidents in U.S. history - a 1943 derailment, coincidentally also involving a train traveling from Washington to New York, which killed 79 people.
Legal Rights for the Injured Passengers
Based on the facts available, it is possible that the train was not being operated properly going around the Frankford Junction curve, which may have caused or contributed to the derailment. The Federal Railroad Administration has regulations governing the speed of trains when entering a curve (see section 213.57 of the Code of Federal Regulations). If the investigation into this terrible train accident reveals that the train operator was traveling at an unsafe speed when entering a curve, that may provide the basis for legal action against Amtrak.
Speak to an Experienced Train Derailment Injury Law Firm
Taking on a major railroad corporation like Amtrak isn't easy. They have a team of lawyers, investigators, and adjusters who are probably reviewing this derailment right now figuring out ways to reduce or deny liability. If you or a loved one was seriously harmed in this train derailement, you need a law firm that knows what they're doing. Our firm has experience handling train derailment injury cases. In fact, we obtained a record-setting jury verdict in Virginia for a man who suffered a life-altering brain injury after a train derailed and crashed into his store (learn more about our $60 million dollar derailment verdict here). Contact our firm today to set up a confidential, no-cost consultation.