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Train Accident Lawsuits: Holding Amtrak & Rail Carriers Accountable

passengers walking to train

Rail carriers such as Amtrak have been facing intense scrutiny following a number of high-profile, devastating train accidents. This includes the recent fatal train derailment in Washington state that killed 3 victims and injured over 60 others. Such incidents are a sobering reminder that trains, like any other form of transportation, are not immune from accidents – especially when negligence or failures are involved.

While major train accidents warrant the attention of citizens throughout the nation, as well as federal regulators from agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), we see that when it comes to railway safety and needed improvements, officials are commonly confronted with the same issues and concerns. This includes:

  • PTC – The need for wide-scale adoption and implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC), a form of technology that can slow and stop trains automatically. PTC has been cited time and time again as a safety measure that can prevent major rail catastrophes, including the Washington state Amtrak crash and a devastating Philadelphia Amtrak crash that injured over 200 victims and killed 9.
  • Distraction – Distraction has not only devastated U.S. roadways, but also our rail systems. Distraction on the part of engineers and operators, including distractions caused by cell phones and operator inattention, have also been cited in a number of major train crashes. This includes a deadly 2008 Metrolink collision in the Chatsworth neighborhood of Los Angeles, which resulted in 25 deaths and more than 130 injuries.

Because the same issues and concerns continue to cause deadly train wrecks, it is difficult to say how and when officials and lawmakers will make the extra effort to make our railways safer. As such, it is often the case that victims and families harmed in these types of accidents are forced to make their voices heard in the civil justice system after devastating train crashes occur.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Rail Carriers

While nothing can make amends for the preventable loss of a loved one, wrongful death lawsuits can provide a sense of closure, as well as the justice and financial compensation that comes with a successful claim. They are also vital to raising the awareness and urgency needed to move safety improvements forward. In terms of wrongful death claims filed against rail carriers like Amtrak, defendants are considered “common carries” and therefore owe a higher duty of care to passengers, including obligations to take all reasonable steps in ensuring the safety of passengers and the public.

Families of a victim who died in a train accident have the right to pursue wrongful death actions against the train operator to hold them liable for damages, which can include:

  • The costs of medical treatment incurred prior to death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost financial support
  • Lost companionship and consortium
  • Emotional injuries suffered by surviving family members

Train accidents do not make for simple personal injury or wrongful death cases, but they can be handled effectively by attorneys who have the experience and resources to take on large commercial train operators and their legal teams. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Biren Law Group have the extensive experience and resources to handle these cases, as well as the personal commitment and determination to help families fight for justice and compensation they deserve.

Because wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a number of laws, including strict statutes of limitations that require suits to be filed within a certain period of time after an accident, timely action in contacting a qualified attorney is of the utmost importance. Our firm is readily available to help victims and families as soon as they reach out to us for help, and offers free consultations throughout Los Angeles and Southern California. Contact us today to discuss your case.