Amtrak Train Accident
At about 9:00 AM on March 24, an Amtrak train accident complicated many commuters’ mornings in New York City’s Penn Station. The Amtrak train, travelling from Boston to Washington, D.C., derailed shortly after departing the station. The train exited Penn Station at a low speed when the front cars lurched and derailed, according to officials from Amtrak. The derailment allowed a New Jersey Transit train to sideswipe the Amtrak train, breaking windows and scraping metal.
Luckily, the rear of the Amtrak train remained on the tracks, still at the platform in Penn Station. All 249 passengers were then able to safely evacuate the train through the back. Two people suffered minor injuries, but refused treatment at the scene. Photos of the Amtrak accident show bent and scraped metal, as well as broken glass. Amtrak and New Jersey transit both delayed service in and out of Penn Station, with MTA and Long Island Railroad Service running as usual.
Although train accidents are relatively rare, they can be just as dangerous as car accidents. When filing a personal injury case in the case of a train accident, the defendant will most likely be the transportation company. In this case, that would be Amtrak. Like other personal injury cases, the defendant must be proved guilty of negligence. Public transportation companies, however, are subject to an additional law: the common carrier law.
Common Carrier Law
Legally, a common carrier is any person or business that provides a transportation service to the public. This includes taxis, buses, subways, trains, and more, depending on the state. Since these services are a common carrier, they owe customers the highest degree of care. Just as doctors owe patients a degree of care, public transportation owe their customers the same. The highest degree of care means that common carriers have a higher expectation for standard care than individuals have. For example, bus drivers have an expectation to drive more carefully than a regular citizen. This means a subway can be negligent even in the case of a slip and fall, or if someone is injured on a subway platform. Still, evidence of negligence is still necessary in order to win a personal injury case.
Filing a Claim
The process for filing a claim in the case of an Amtrak train accident differs from filing a personal injury case against a doctor. This is because someone like a doctor is usually a private, non-government owned entity. However, the government partially owns Amtrak, through a company called the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. This means when filing a case against Amtrak, you are actually filing a case against the government. Due to this, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is especially beneficial to your case. State laws apply to claims brought against the government, meaning that there are different time limits for filing all the required documents. The public transportation company must be notified within six months of the precise details of the accident. The statute of limitations mandates that your claim be filed withing two years of the injury date.
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If you or a family member was a train passenger who experienced an injury, contact our experienced train accident attorneys for more information by email or calling (800) 762-9300. You can also fill out a case intake form, and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.