On November 29, an Amtrak train headed for Miami collided with a dump truck at an Orlando intersection, killing the truck driver and injuring over a dozen passengers (see the article in the Orlando Sentinel). At least 50 fire-rescue workers and 50 law enforcement officers were sent to the scene of the accident. Once there, they found the truck in two pieces on either side of the track, the driver, already dead, thrown about 150 feet from the impact zone, and over 100 panicked and shocked passengers. According to the Sentinel article, there is a stop sign and railroad crossing sign at the intersection where the accident occurred, but no arm bars or other signals to warn drivers when a train is near. However, at this very intersection, flashing lights and crossing arms are supposed to be installed in the spring of 2013 as part of a $1.2 billion commuter train upgrade. Sadly, these safety precautions are too late for the victims of Thursday’s accident.
While authorities from the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Transportation are still investigating the factors that led to the Orlando accident, we do know that many tragic train accidents could have been avoided if people took proper care at train crossings and while operating commuter trains. Some common causes of train accidents include:
Failure to properly inspect equipment
Improper train or track maintenance or repair
Lines being switched improperly
Mechanical failures, including broken warning lights
Improperly loaded or disproportionate cargo on the train
Disregarding weather conditions
Miscommunications regarding which track is non-operational and which is in use
Failure to obey signals
Insufficient training of staff
Failure to remedy a dangerous situation, such as a spill, broken seat, or belligerent passenger
The personal injury attorneys at Fetterman & Associates possess the resources and legal skill to handle complex cases arising from train accidents. Our goal is to identify all liable parties in a train accident to ensure maximum compensation for our clients.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a train accident, either as a train passenger or automobile driver, please contact Fetterman & Associates for a free consultation. We serve southeast Florida from offices in Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie.
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