Seven people were killed and more than 200 people were hospitalized after an Amtrak train derailed and rolled onto its side in Philadelphia Tuesday night. All seven cars of the train derailed and came off the tracks shortly after 9 p.m. This derailment occurred at almost the exact same location of another deadly derailment that occurred 71 years ago, where 79 passengers were killed and 117 were injured.
One of the passengers told news sources that all of a sudden it felt like the brakes had been hit hard and then their car slowly started to tip to the side. A resident who lives close by said he could hear the crash. He said he heard what sounded like shopping carts crashing together and then chaos and screaming. Philadelphia’s Mayor, Michael Nutter, characterized the crash as an “absolute disastrous mess.”
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to investigate the derailment early Wednesday morning. NTSB recovered the black box, which functions as the train’s event recorder. After investigating the box, it was confirmed that the Amtrak train was going more than 100 miles per hour prior to hurling off the tracks.
Mayor Nutter would not say how many people are still unaccounted for in the derailment, but officials say they are trying to match the Amtrak’s passenger manifest with patient information from area hospitals. Some people hospitalized remain in critical condition.
If it is determined that the driver was not operating the train in a safe manner, then both he and his employer could be held liable for damages for the serious injuries and deaths that resulted. In this case, with the excessive speed, chances are good that the driver would be considered reckless, which can carry with it an imposition of punitive damages- damages designed to punish wrongdoers for their conduct. But there are many more questions to be answered. The injured and their families deserve those answers. Retaining an attorney to perform an independent investigation is often the only way families can get to the truth.
The attorneys of Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger are willing to speak to anyone injured in the Amtrak wreck, or their families, at no charge, to help answer any questions about the legal process.
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