Because of the catastrophic nature of train accidents, legal protections are in place to aid victims of train accidents and their families. A major train accident has recently been in the national news. This accident is the country's deadliest train accident in six years. The train accident resulted in eight deaths and 200 injuries; in all, more than 200 victims were sent to hospitals following the train accident. Investigators are looking into why the train was accelerating through a curve when it should have been slowing down. The train derailed while traveling through the curve.
Investigators are unsure if the train speed was increased manually by the engineer, who has agreed to be interviewed by the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB). Criminal charges are also being considered by local prosecutors, although the engineer has refused to speak with police. The engineer's representative notes that the engineer suffered a head injury in the train accident and does not recall the crash, but does recall entering the curve and attempting to slow the train down. However, he does not remember applying the emergency brakes, as has been reported. The representative also noted the engineer was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs or using his cell phone at the time of the train accident, as he submitted to a blood test and surrendered his phone following the accident.
In the moments before the crash, approximately a minute before the train derailed, it sped up and ultimately reached greater than 100 miles per hour as it travelled through the sharp bend, where the train's maximum speed should only have been 50 miles per hour. So far, the investigation has not revealed problems with the train, track or signals. Although technological improvements are in place, they were being tested, but not used, where the train accident took place. The train company reported that positive train control will be in use throughout the entire corridor in question by the end of 2015.
Unfortunately, train accidents can happen anywhere and human error, although it is uncertain what caused the train accident in question, can lead to train accidents. Because victims of train accidents can suffer catastrophic injuries and death, family members and victims who have suffered harm in a train accident should be aware of the legal protections available to help them recover damages for the harm they have suffered.
Source: News9.com, Investigators look at why train sped up before derailment," Geoff Mulvihill and Michael Kunzelman, May 13, 2015