Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Conductor sues Amtrak after train accident

Most Maryland residents have no doubt heard about the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia that occurred on May 12. The derailment resulted in eight people being killed and more than 200 people suffering injuries. Lawsuits are now starting to be filed by some victims, including one on May 19 by an Amtrak conductor who received severe injuries and who remains in critical condition.

The 33-year-old employee is alleging negligence on Amtrak's part, and he is reportedly asking for unspecified damages. The man was taking a break from his duties in the first car when the accident occurred, and he reported that the train suddenly moved forward before crashing. The conductor suffered two broken shoulders and a broken neck and back and is one of several people still in critical condition after the crash.

A minute before the crash occurred, the train sharply accelerated from 70 mph to 106 mph. The Philadelphia Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident and have not ruled out possible causes like human error or equipment malfunction as reasons for why the train suddenly gained speed. The 32-year-old train engineer suffered a concussion and told the authorities that he does not remember what happened before the crash.

Multiple parties can be responsible for commercial vehicle accidents like this derailment. Although accidents can be caused by the negligent behavior of the driver, the commercial carrier employer can often be named as a defendant under the theory of vicarious liability in situations where the driver is found to have been speeding or otherwise negligent in the performance of his or her duties.

Source: Reuters, "UPDATE 2-Conductor hurt in Philadelphia train derailment sues Amtrak", May 19, 2015

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