Train travel is widely considered to be one of the safest ways to travel, however accidents do sometimes happen. The most recent train accident took place when an Amtrak train crashed in California a year ago. More than 200 people were injured in the crash and 8 died as a result of their injuries.
As the investigation continues, more and more details about how the accident took place have come to light. Now it appears that the high speed the train was traveling combined with human error are the reasons behind the tragic event.
Just before the Amtrak train crashed, it appears that the engineer, Brandon Bostian had received a dispatch from another train which distracted him to the point that he lost track of his own train. Had it not been for the dispatch, it’s believed he would have been more aware of his surroundings and realized he needed to decrease his speed. At the time, Bostian’s train was traveling at a speed of 104 miles per hour, but the track curves can only be safely negotiated at a speed of 50 miles per hour.
Amtrak has also revealed that had the train been equipped with a better positive train control device, the accident could have been avoided because the train would have automatically slowed despite not receiving any signals from its engineer.
The National Transportation Safety Board also revealed that during the course of their investigation they learned that the train had “inadequate requirements for occupant protections in the likelihood of a train overturning.” As a result of these findings, Amtrak and the National Transportation Safety Board have put together a list of things that can be done to prevent a similar accident from taking place in the future.
During the investigation, it was determined that gunshots had not been fired on the train. The engineer wasn’t using drugs or alcohol, nor was he speaking on his cell phone. This accident was the result of human error something that different equipment will help with.
Prior to the accident, Bostian was an exemplary engineer who had a sterling work record with Amtrack. He suffered a concussion during the crash and as a result was unable to accurately recall what had happened in the moments just before the accident. He says he vaguely recalls hitting the brakes as they entered the steep curve, but that the memory is surreal. He does report remember hearing dispatches from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train that had struck a rock.
Even though the investigation into the accident is nearing its end, it will be a long time before the case no longer makes headlines. Now that the victims and their families understand the reason behind the crash, they can take the matter to civil court.
“Understanding the liability in these types of situations can be complicated,” said Attorney Drew Warren of California’s top personal injury firm.“The best way to understand your legal options is by seeking the counsel of an experienced lawyer.”
If a settlement is reached, it can be used to help deal with the financial burden of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.