What factors combined to cause the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia last month?
Investigators are still trying to figure out what happened aboard the Amtrak train that derailed last month as it pulled out of Philadelphia. Records indicate that the conductor used his cell phone the day of the collision, but there is no word yet as to the times of the calls and texts. Furthermore, conductor Brian Bostian’s shift had been especially taxing. On an earlier trip to Washington,D.C., a warning display system was not functioning, so he had to lower the train’s speed and pay close attention to the track. The train arrived 26 minutes late, meaning that Mr. Bostian did not have his customary meal and rest break. But investigators are particularly troubled by the conductor’s actions in the critical moments just prior to the crash. The train accelerated from 70mph to about 106mph just before it entered a curve.
Eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured as a result of the derailment.
Whose Fault Was It?
All negligence cases, whether the plaintiff’s injury was due to a car crash, a defective product, a train derailment, or whatever else, come down to four essential elements:
- Cause, and
Most people and companies have at least two legal duties. They must act in accordance with the “reasonable person” standard, which basically means just what it says, and they must follow any applicable rules and laws. At least at this point, it appears that the conductor may have breached both these duties. He may have exceeded the speed limit on the curve and may have been fatigued.
But the inquiry does not end there. Mr. Bostian’s fatigue may have been due to the malfunctioning instrument panel or the train’s overly-ambitious schedule. If that is the case, the train manufacturer and operator may also have been negligent.
Furthermore, the track manufacturer may have breached a duty. Many times, train derailments are caused by old tracks that cannot adequately handle today’s high-speed trains, especially as they are going around a bend.
It is important to note that investigators have not made a final report and no discovery has taken place, so any conclusions made now are little more than speculation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or have been the victim of a train accident or derailment, contact the aggressive Baltimore train accident attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC for a free consultation. You can call us toll free at (800) 918-8872 or contact us online. Allinjury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, so we do not charge any upfront legal fees.