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Amtrak Sued Following Fatal Accident

Amtrak Sued Following Fatal Accident

By: E.S. Borjeson & Associates

A n April 3, 2016 collision on the southbound tracks just outside Chester, Pennsylvania fatally injured two railroad workers. The family of one of those men recently responded by filing a negligence action against Amtrak. According to the complaint filed on behalf of the worker’s two grown children, Amtrak failed to take reasonable steps to avoid the tragedy.

The two workers were performing maintenance with a backhoe when they were struck by a train travelling 106 mph. The accident comes on the heels of another fatal crash involving an Amtrak train. In May 2015, eight riders lost their lives when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia. In that action, plaintiffs allege that the train’s engineer was distracted and failed to brake while navigating a sharp turn, causing the derailment.

Employers have a duty to ensure safe working conditions for their employees regardless of whether those employees are working regularly-scheduled hours or overtime. Although an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board of the April 6th crash is not yet complete, preliminary results show that the train engineer was unaware that there was construction. In light of evidence that the engineer had just five seconds to brake after seeing the backhoe, the Federal Railway Administration ordered Amtrak to retrain its rail workers on basic safety rules.

If a breakdown in communications was to blame for the fatal workplace accident which claimed the lives of the two workers, Amtrak faces a steep climb in court. An accident at work need not result in a fatal injury in order to be compensable, however. Any injury sustained by an employee while performing their work duties can form the basis of a successful Workers’ Compensation claim.


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