According to the Washington Post, the Amtrak train that crashed on Tuesday was going double the speed limit when it derailed. The train reportedly sped up right before the crash, going from 76 mph to more than 100 mph in under a minute before derailing. The speed limit of that area, was reportedly 50 mph, as it preceded a sharp turn on the tracks. The increase in speed raises questions of negligence that could have far-reaching legal ramifications.
The crash of Amtrak Train 188 on Tuesday resulted in the deaths of at least 8 people and numerous other injuries to passengers. Due to the fact that the train was travelling nearly double the speed limit, there is reason to believe that Amtrak acted negligently in some capacity. As a result, it’s safe to say that many of the passengers on the train will bring lawsuits against Amtrak. Loved ones of the eight passengers who were fatally injured may have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against Amtrak and any other negligent parties involved in the crash. With a wrongful death claim, they may be able to recover compensation for any economic or non-economic damages they may have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. Additionally, passengers who suffered injuries on the train may be able to file general personal injury lawsuits for any economic damages they suffered—such as medical bills or lost wages—from the crash.
Proving negligence means showing that Amtrak breached a duty of care to their customers. As can be seen by the diagram below, Train 188 far exceeded the “safe” speed in the area, which in and of itself could constitute negligence. Additionally, to have a claim, an injured individual must show that the other party or entity’s negligence was directly responsible for their injuries. As a result, if a court was to find that the train’s exceeding of the speed limit was directly responsible for the crash, Amtrak would likely be liable for any economic damages caused to the injured passengers and the families of the decease passengers.
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Speed Diagram of the Amtrak Crash