The Reiff Law Firm is a personal injury law firm representing people who have been injured in Pennsylvania train accidents and railroad accidents. Our award-winning accident attorneys have provided the seriously injured with skillful and effective legal counsel since 1979, giving our renowned legal team nearly 40 years of trial experience. If you, your spouse, your son or daughter, or a family member was hurt in an Amtrak train accident or SEPTA train accident in the Philadelphia region, our railroad accident lawyers may be able to recover financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other harm resulting from the crash, collision, explosion, or derailment.
With law offices located in Center City, the Pennsylvania train accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm serve accident victims and their family members throughout the Philadelphia region. We make ourselves available to our clients 24 hours a day, because we are committed to obtaining favorable results for the individuals we represent. If you are in need of legal guidance after being injured in a train accident, or after losing a loved one in a fatal rail accident, we are here to provide caring and compassionate support. For a free legal consultation concerning a train-related injury or wrongful death in Pennsylvania, contact our law offices online, or call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.
Philadelphia Amtrak Train Crash Lawyers Representing Injured Passengers
The Philadelphia railroad accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm have nearly four decades of experience serving clients who have lost loved ones or been severely injured in train crashes, including Amtrak accidents, SEPTA accidents, and other accidents involving commercial vehicles. We understand the complex investigative procedures, regulatory standards, and state and federal laws surrounding serious rail crashes, and use our knowledge and experience to craft hard-hitting, case-specific legal strategies for settlement negotiation or aggressive litigation. We handle a wide range of personal injury claims and lawsuits arising from major rail disasters, including cases involving:
- Collisions with obstructions or debris on the track
- Derailment accidents, including derailments at junctions and curves
- Head-on collisions or rear collisions between two trains
- Train accidents caused by explosions, fires, hazardous chemicals, driver errors, and signal errors
- Train defect accidents and track defect accidents
If you were hurt in these or other types of railroad crashes, or if a family member was killed in a fatal crash or collision, our injury attorneys are available to provide guidance and support. When you contact The Reiff Law Firm for your free consultation, our Philadelphia train accident lawyers can determine whether you may have a claim, and if so, how you and your family may wish to proceed.
Common Injuries Caused by Train Wrecks and Collisions
Train accidents can seriously injure or kill numerous parties on or near the vehicle, including:
- Passengers riding the vehicle
- Pedestrians, motorists, or cyclists who are in the crash area when the accident occurs
- Train operators and other railroad employees
Though train accidents are less common than car crashes, the immense size of a train often translates to multiple catastrophic injuries and/or deaths. Examples of injuries caused by train accidents may include:
- Amputation injuries, such as the loss of a limb, hand, or finger
- Back injuries, spinal cord injuries (SCI), and paralysis
- Broken bones (bone fractures)
- Burn injuries (second degree burns, third degree burns, fourth degree burns) and chemical burns
- Crush injuries from being trapped beneath wreckage
- Cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds from glass, metal, and other debris
- Head injuries, concussions, and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Nerve damage and/or damage to internal organs
- Severe bruises and contusions
- Soft tissue injuries, such as muscle sprains
If the train was carrying hazardous substances at the time of the accident, there is also the potential for toxic exposure injuries and chemical spill injuries, such as chemical burns or vision loss. Chemical injuries from freight train derailments can lead to serious health effects, potentially including:
- Birth defects
- Cancer and tumors
- Eye irritation and/or loss of vision (blindness)
- Respiratory problems
- Skin irritation, skin damage, and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Common Types of Bone Fractures and Skeletal Injuries that Occur in Train Derailments or Accidents
Many of the people injured in the recent Amtrak Train 188 crash suffered broken bones and bone fractures due to causes like being trapped under debris, colliding with other passengers, and being struck with falling objects like luggage and other loose items on board the train. The tremendous amount of force, weight, and momentum involved in train crashes sadly means the potential for catastrophic injury is high.
Different types of bone fracture injuries include:
- Buckled Fractures – These occur when two ends of bones are impacted into each other. For this reason they are sometimes called impact fractures.
- Comminuted Fractures – These involve a bone breaking up into multiple smaller pieces.
- Greenstick Fractures – This is a partial fracture where the affected bone bends. Children are especially vulnerable to greenstick fractures.
- Oblique Fractures – Fractures are called oblique when the break is on a curved or sloping angle instead of straight across horizontally.
- Stress Fractures – These fractures occur when bones develop thin cracks.
Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Train Derailments and Accidents
Unfortunately, railroad accidents tend to cause catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBI) because of the enormous speed and force which are involved. Many of the Train 188 accident injuries were caused by factors like passengers falling into each other or being struck by falling objects. External blows to the head often result in concussions and other serious brain injuries, which can have a range of debilitating medical effects depending on the area of the brain affected.
Some of the potential health consequences and medical complications that can arise from TBI injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Difficulty speaking, understanding language, and communicating, including slurred speech. This condition is called aphasia, which takes different forms such as global aphasia and Broca’s aphasia.
- Inability to form and/or retain memories and information.
- Mood disturbances and changes to the victim’s personality.
- Severe depression and anxiety caused by changes to the victim’s lifestyle and physical and/or mental functioning.
- Trouble perceiving smells, tastes, temperature, and/or pressure.
- Urinary incontinence or reduced bladder function.
- Vision loss and/or hearing loss.
Depending on the severity of the injury, victims of TBI may have to end or change their careers, hire caregivers, make costly modifications to their homes, and give up certain hobbies and leisure activities. All of these changes are physically, emotionally, and financially devastating.
In some instances TBI can be fatal. Our Amtrak derailment wrongful death attorneys are prepared to handle such cases on the victim’s behalf. We can also assist the victims of spinal cord injuries and broken bones caused by the Train 188 disaster.
Causes of Train Derailments and Railroad Accidents
Amtrak reports annual ridership of approximately 31.3 million, with about 85,700 passengers boarding each day. Annually, there are anywhere from approximately 10,000 to 15,000 train accidents of varying severity in the United States. While train accidents are statistically rare, the high number of passengers often means that numerous injuries occur.
According to the statistics available, many factors cause or contribute to train derailments and railroad collisions. Some examples of derailment and train crash causes include:
- Defective train parts, such as cables and motors
- Improperly maintained tracks
- Lack of safety gates and unprotected crossings
- Malfunctioning lights or train signals
- Mechanical failures, which can be caused by negligent maintenance, faulty design, failure to detect physical damage or wear-and-tear during inspections, or failure to perform inspections
- Operator carelessness, fatigue, inexperience, or intoxication by drugs and/or alcohol
- Operator error, such as speeding through a curve, passing signals improperly, or failing to stop in the proper position along the platform or track
While these factors seem to vary, all share an underlying trait in common: all can be traced back to one or more human errors. Whether the root cause of an Amtrak crash or SEPTA crash is train operator negligence, a defective product design, or malfunctioning safety systems, most accidents can be traced back to a mistake that was made by an Amtrak employee or SEPTA employee, an employee at a production plant or manufacturing company, or the designers and engineers who conceptualized a track or vehicle component.
Moreover, many trains still operate with technology that is more than 50 years old and may not meet today’s safety requirements. Failure to update this technology needlessly places countless passengers, railroad workers, motorists, and pedestrians at risk of severe injury or death.
What to Do if You Were Injured in a Philadelphia Amtrak Derailment
On May 12, 2015, one of the worst train derailment accidents in recent U.S. history occurred. Shortly after 9:00 P.M., Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 completely derailed around Frankford Junction, located on the 2000 block of Wheatsheaf Lane in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. As of May 13, officials are reporting over 200 injuries and at least seven fatalities. Our attorneys are here to offer legal support for the families and loved ones of Train 188 wrongful death victims. Among the survivors, at least six are currently listed as being in critical condition.
While the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the underlying causes of this terrible tragedy, the black box recovered from the wreckage has confirmed that Train 188 was speeding through Frankford Junction at speeds in excess of 100 MPH. Frankford Junction, which features a perilous curve, has a speed limit of just 50 MPH. The same junction was involved in another devastating derailment tragedy in 1943, which caused 79 deaths and 117 injuries.
While black box data indicates that Train 188 was traveling through the junction at dangerous speeds well above the posted limit, the underlying cause behind the train’s excessive speed has not yet been determined by the NTSB, which is still investigating whether the Pennsylvania Amtrak train crash is attributable to operator error, a train malfunction, or defects with the track itself.
We are keeping everyone who has been impacted by this abhorrent tragedy in our thoughts and prayers, and offer our condolences to the accident survivors and the loved ones of the victims who were killed in this terrible disaster. We will continue to post updates as more information is released by the NTSB and other officials investigating the accident.
Philadelphia Train Accident Injury Attorneys Handling Claims Against Amtrak
If you or someone you love has been injured in a train accident or train derailment in Philadelphia, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim and may be able to recover financial compensation for medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, there is a statute of limitations that typically prohibit you from filing a claim after a certain period of time has passed.
If one of your loved ones suffered a concussion or other serious head injury in the accident, our Amtrak crash lawyers encourage you to contact our law offices. Even if you aren’t quite sure whether you need help from an attorney or join an Amtrak lawsuit, we invite you to reach out to The Reiff Law Firm for more information and legal support.
Our phone lines are open around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so please do not hesitate to call us, no matter the time of day or evening. Your legal consultation is completely free of charge, and we will keep your information private. We will never charge you any legal fees unless we make a successful recovery on your behalf. Call our law offices at(215) 709-6940 to talk about how we can help you through this difficult time.
The statute of limitations is just one of many specific laws that govern your ability to recover compensation for injuries suffered in a train wreck. The Philadelphia train crash attorneys at our personal injury law firm understand these laws, and know how properly investigate and prove that a train operator, train company, railroad worker, or other party acted negligently in your case. Because of complex railroad industry regulations, liability laws, and legal deadlines, it is crucial that you have an Amtrak injury attorney who is skilled and experienced in representing train accident victims to help you navigate your claim.
The Reiff Law Firm is proud to serve the communities we are part of. Based in Philadelphia, we provide legal representation for train injury victims in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Lehigh County, and other areas of Pennsylvania. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Philadelphia train accident, or if a loved one was killed in a fatal Amtrak accident, do not hesitate to contact our law offices at (215) 709-6940 for a free legal consultation. We are here to offer help and support.