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Amtrak Investigation Continues, Lawsuits Begin

amtrack train

Deadly Amtrak crash still under investigation, attorneys concerned over 1997 damages cap of $200M

Four passengers and one of the conductors on board the derailed Amtrak train 188 have filed lawsuits against Amtrak as the investigation continues. Amtrak service between Philadelphia and New York resumed this morning with Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, there to see passengers off.

Speculation as to the official cause of the crash is still going on

Was an object hurled at the train moments before the crash? Does it matter? While the object may not have done damage to the train itself, some say it could have alarmed, distracted, or even wounded the conductor, who says he has no memory of the crash or the final moments leading up to it.  A“black box” data recorder will give a more accurate reading of the train’s speed, which is currently estimated to be about 106 mph, in an area where the maximum safe speed is 50mph.

While in the past there have been reports of train conductors texting or falling asleep, there is no indication at this time that the conductor of Amtrak 188 was distracted or drowsy. Why the train was moving at a speed twice the limit for that dangerous curve is not yet clear. Though some lawyers raise an eyebrow at his “suspicious” claim that he has no memory of the crash.

Other possibilities like mechanical failure and improperly maintained tracks will be considered as the investigation continues. The crash has illuminated multiple ways in which tragedies like this one might be avoided through the use of technology – technology that was absent in this case. Positive train control (PTC) systems designed to apply the brakes when a train reaches an unsafe speed, or video cameras in locomotive compartments that have been recommended by safety advocates for years were not in place.

Litigation will depend upon the findings of the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board,  but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to speak to a lawyer. Passengers and Amtrak employees who were injured in the accident should seek legal counsel as soon as they are able, to learn about their legal rights and options.

What may prove to be a concern in these lawsuits is the $200 million damages cap put in place in 1997.

If you or someone you love was involved in the Amtrak 188 derailment, contact the experienced attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. We will answer your questions and help you determine the next steps to take. 855-866-5529. We are available 24/7.

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