NJ Transit has had a few problems with trains derailing in the past few months, with two happening within just 10 days. SEPTA has had its own problems with its trains and trolleys crashing and derailing in January and February of this year. This is all without mentioning the devastating AMTRAK derailment back in 2015.
For those who rely on public rail systems for commuting in Pennsylvania, this is an unacceptable danger. If you are injured in a SEPTA crash, or any train crash in Pennsylvania, call an attorney. The experienced personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm help injured victims get compensated for their injuries.
Trains Owe Passengers Safe Trips
One of the oldest rules in the law is that transportation services owe their passengers a high duty of care. Even before technology like trains, trolleys, and subways existed, transporters, called “common carriers,” owed their passengers the “utmost” duty of care. This means that any sudden jerks and jostles that cause injury are the carrier’s fault. Especially for more dangerous things like crashes and derailments, the transportation authority should be held responsible.
Even slight injuries are bad for common carriers. It is, of course, expected that your ride might sometimes be a little rough. Bumps in the road and bends in the tracks are common, and somewhat acceptable. But when you get in a bus, trolley, or train, the operator is expected to drive with the utmost care and keep you safe. Sudden jerks that are outside the normal course of travel can all lead to liability if passengers are injured.
We expect that trains, trolleys, and other vehicles will, at least, stay on their tracks. A “derailment,” can include even slight issues where only one wheel comes off the tracks. This kind of quick, sudden movement is not within the vehicle’s normal travel, and might not feel very slight to passengers. The train car might drop suddenly, tilt, or even change course and stop without warning.
Since so many passengers on the El, Broad Street Subway, or Regional Rail have to stand, sudden shifts can cause bad injuries. Especially for elderly passengers and young students who rely upon public transit in place of driving themselves, injuries could be severe. A sudden jerk could throw a passenger, sitting or standing, to the ground or into a wall. This could mean broken bones or, even more dangerous, head injuries.
If the derailment is even more serious, the passengers may bounce around inside the vehicle. If the vehicle, like a trolley or a bus, is involved in a crash with another vehicle, passengers may suffer severe injuries.
Public Transportation Crashes Cause Injuries
Whether you are suing NJ Transit, SEPTA, or AMTRAK for your injuries, you may be entitled to large amounts of compensation. If your injuries were severe, and due to especially bad negligence on the part of the carrier, you might be entitled to even more compensation.
2015’s AMTRAK derailment is a perfect example of the poor decisions and safety mechanisms public transit authorities might use. In that crash, there was a safety mechanism in place to ensure trains were not speeding around a particularly dangerous curve. The safety device allegedly failed, which was part of the reason the train crashed. On top of that, the train operator was allegedly going far faster than the recommended speed for that curve. This shows that not only the operator, but also the safety inspectors and engineers may all be negligent.
The recent NJ Transit derailments occurred at low speeds, when the trains were pulling into the station. This shows that even low-speed crashes can result in injuries.
No matter what your injuries are, they should be compensated by the parties who hurt you. More severe injuries, like head injuries and spine injuries, can be extremely serious. When you fall and hit your head, or your head hits the wall of a train car, there is nothing to protect it. Trains, unlike cars, do not have seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones to protect the occupants. That means that the only things protecting your brain from injury is your skull.
When you suffer strong blows to the head, your brain is at risk. Injuries to the brain can mean memory problems, nausea, loss of control in parts of your body, and may include permanent harm. Impacts to the neck or back can mean spinal cord injuries. More severe spinal injuries can result in pain, numbness, or even paralysis and lack of motor function below the point of injury.
Always seek medical treatment for injuries, especially if you might later sue the people who harmed you.
Talk to a Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a crash on a train, bus, trolley, or other public transportation, talk to an experienced attorney right away. You might have options to recover against the public transit authority. Whether that is SEPTA, NJ Transit, or AMTRAK, the lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm might be able to help you with your case. For a free consultation, call us today at (215) 246-9000.