For many everyday folks with a fear of flying, the train represents a safe, easy, and fairly reliable means of traveling long distances without having to drive. This reputation for safety did not occur by accident, however. Part of the reason why train accidents are, relatively speaking, few and far between is because common carriers, businesses that transport goods or people on regular routes at regular rates, are held to the highest standard of care. In non-legalese, this means that companies, like Amtrak, must do all that is within human ability and knowledge to avoid harm to passengers or cargo. In a sense, the organization must act as if it was an extremely cautious individual exercising the utmost care and caution.
Unfortunately, despite standards requiring the utmost care and vigilance, accidents can and do still occur. On the evening of May 12, 2015, one of the deadliest train derailments in Philadelphia’s history occurred. There are already more than 65 known injuries and 6 deaths due to the Train 188 derailment. These numbers may increase as rescuers search and account for all passengers listed on the train manifest.
Amtrak Train 188’s Derailment
Investigators have not yet completed their inquiry into the causes of the accident, but there is some information about the ill-fated journey and the train accident that we already know.
Amtrak Train 188 set out from Union Station in Washington D.C on a journey that would take it along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line arriving at roughly 10:30 p.m. at New York’s Pennsylvania Station. Unfortunately, a tragic derailment cut this journey short.
The derailment occurred on a now-notorious curve in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. This curve is located at roughly the same site as the 1943 Frankford Junction derailment that that killed 79 and injured 117. The cause of the derailment has not yet been determined, but inquiries include the speed of the train, mechanical problems, high winds, and human error.
As for the speed of the train, Amtrak trains using the Northeast Corridor can travel at speeds over 100 mph. While these trains do not reach the speeds traveled by a bullet train, Amtrak trains often travel at faster speeds than a passenger vehicle on the highway along with having a significantly increased mass & stopping distance. When speed is not adequately controlled, the risk of an accident increases. In fact, Amtrak trains must control their speed and reduce it to safe levels when the trains pass through populated areas, urban areas, or other places where it would be unsafe to travel at high speeds.
As for the possibility that mechanical errors contributed to the crash, some have already claimed that this accident represents the consequences of underinvestment that they have warned about for years.
However, Mayor Nutter was quick to state that none should draw conclusions until all of the facts are in. Federal investigators are expected on-site Wednesday morning
The injuries caused by the train derailment
We already know that the Amtrak 188 train derailment is responsible for six deaths. However, the six deaths are unfortunately not the only injuries to come out of this tragic accident. Representatives from local-area hospitals have informed the public about the nature and severity of injuries. Aria Health owns two hospitals near the derailment. A spokesperson for Aria Health reported that nearly 60 patients received treatment at the facilities. It seems that many of the more seriously injured were brought to Temple University Hospital. A representative from the hospital said that 54 passengers from the wreck received treatment at the hospital. Unfortunately, those 54 patients included one of the fatalities. This individual passed away due to a massive chest injury. Many patients being treated have broken or fractured bones, neck injuries, spinal injuries, or traumatic brain injuries caused by the Amtrak accident.
Catastrophic injuries in the Amtrak Train 188 derailment?
When we decide to travel by rail on a common carrier like Amtrak, we place our safety and well-being in their hands. We expect all precautions to be taken and for extreme care to be exercised. However, accidents and injuries can and still do occur. If the accident was the product of a mistake, negligence or another act that fell short of the high standard of care owed to passengers, the company may be liable for your injuries, lost wages, and other expenses and costs imposed by your severe injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered severe, life-altering injuries, or if you are the spouse or family member of a Train 188 wrongful death victim, call the Pennsylvania train derailment injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 for a free and confidential legal consultation.