While the creation of Amtrak was the result of legislation passed in 1970, what most people are not privy to is that it is still considered a private company and may be held liable in the event that passengers or bystanders are injured due to negligent actions.
Over 30 million people ride on Amtrak trains annually and there are roughly 10,000 Amtrak related accidents across the United States each year. Most of these accidents occur while passengers are on platforms or boarding and exiting trains but more serious accidents may occur involving vehicles at railroad crossings, derailments or incidents involving passing trains.
Types of Accidents Encountered by Passengers on Amtrak Trains
Not all of the injuries that occur on trains are due to tragic circumstances such as collisions or derailments but may occur during normal and regular operation. Regardless of how you have been injured, it is important to investigate whether steps could have been taken to provide a safer environment or warn passengers of hazards.
Common Amtrak accidents include the following.
- Slip, trip or fall injuries— these injuries may occur when passengers are moving inside of the train or when they are boarding or leaving the train. Inclement weather can cause surfaces to become slick and objects placed in aisles on the train can pose a tripping hazard. Train platforms may be slippery as well if it is cold, raining or snowing and warnings must be present to alert travelers to these hazards. (look here for more discussion)
- Sudden stops or acceleration— should the train come to a sudden halt or lurch forward in sudden movements, passengers can be thrown from their seats or fall if they are in the aisle when the sudden deceleration or acceleration occurs.
- Poorly maintained premises— premises liability refers to the responsibility of any property owner to ensure that reasonable measures are taken to ensure safety and warn of hazards. Should passengers be injured on a train platform, while traveling through a train station or while on any other property that is owned or maintained by Amtrak, Amtrak may be held liable for the repayment of medical and other financial expenses.
- Employee negligence— individual employees are not perfect and may make mistakes that lead to injuries and it is the responsibility of Amtrak to provide compensation in the event that an employee harms a traveler through any negligent action.
- Collision or derailment— the most severe and far reaching accidents involve collisions with other vehicles or train derailments. Trains are extremely powerful and massive machines capable of doing incredible damage to property and injuring passengers and bystanders. When this happens, Amtrak may be held liable to the families of any person killed in the incident and directly to any who have been injured or suffered damage to personal property.
If you have been injured in an Amtrak accident, it is important to report your injury immediately, seek medical treatment and collect as much information as possible about the scene of the accident so that an experienced attorney may begin an investigation into the case to determine the cause of your injuries as well as fault. Since not all injuries are immediately apparent, Amtrak may not know that you have been injured unless you report the incident. Filing a report with both the police and Amtrak and seeking medical care establishes that you were indeed injured and have a potential claim.
Hire a Law Firm Who Can Go the Distance With Your Amtrak Accident Case
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are reputable attorneys who have a history of success representing the interests and needs of those who have been injured in Amtrak train accidents and at Amtrak stations. If you were a passenger or employee involved in an Amtrak train accident and were injured, contact our attorneys right away to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys so that we can collect all of the information needed to investigate your case further and advise you on your legal rights and options. If for any reason we fail to collect compensation on your behalf, our time and resources will be completely free of charge.