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Amtrak Train Crashes into Tractor-Trailer Stuck on Railroad Track Injuring 54 Passengers

March 13, 2015

While train accidents might not be a common form of vehicular collision, train derailments and rail crossing accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities, and they still happen all too often. Because a significant number of people are transported on the typical Amtrak or commuter train, a train crash or derailment can cause a massive number of injuries. The media has widely covered three major train crashes during the last two months causing seven deaths and dozens of injuries. When individuals suffer debilitating injuries or lose a loved one in a train accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can represent their interest in seeking compensation for their loss.

The most significant of these recent train crashes occurred when an Amtrak train collided with a tractor-trailer that got stuck in the track while attempting to navigate a difficult left turn. When one of the train's cars toppled, 54 passengers and the conductor suffered injury. The oversized flatbed trailer involved in the train crash was transporting a modular building. According to media reports, state troopers were escorting the truck and tried to help the 164-foot tractor-trailer combination driver navigate the difficult left turn across the tracks.

A spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration reported that a locomotive and two cars derailed when the train collided with the tractor-trailer combination. The train was authorized to travel at a speed of seventy miles per hour, but the spokesman could not say how fast the train was actually traveling at this stage of the investigation.

A former Federal Railroad Administration official and instructor in railway safety at Michigan State University characterized the crash site in an AP report as a "bad geometry crossing." He explained that the sharp curve of the track heading toward the crossing obscured the conductor's ability to see what was approaching as the train closed on the crossing. By the same token, the driver of the tractor-trailer would not have been able to see down the track according to the former FRA official. The ability of both parties to identify a potential collision at the intersection was limited because the track and roadway did not cross at a 90 degree angle.

When train derailments and collisions at crossing occur, people who are injured and family members who lose a loved one are often entitled to financial compensation. However, the process of establishing the cause of the crash and negligent conduct that contributed to the train accident can be difficult. Train accidents can be caused by a range of negligent acts or omissions that include:

  • Unsafe design of the track, crossing or intersection
  • Poor maintenance of the train or other vehicles involved in the crash
  • Non-functioning warning signals and crossing barriers
  • Excessive speed by the train or vehicle operator
  • Inattentive operation of a motor vehicle or train
  • Other unsafe conduct, such as "playing chicken" by parking on the tracks or racing to beat the train

If you have been injured in a derailment or crash, our Atlanta accident attorneys will answer your questions and advise you about your legal rights and the steps to be taken to prtect those rights.

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Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.