An Amtrak passenger train has collided with a freight train in South Carolina on February 5th, 2018. The aftermath of the collision left two people dead – both Amtrak employees – and at least another 116 people injured, many seriously. Authorities have reported that the passenger train was negligently diverted onto the wrong track, where the freight train was left unmoving and unmanned.
Apparently a padlock should have been in place to stop the train from being manually diverted. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still conducting its investigation as to why the padlock was removed and the diverting switch was triggered. Since it is also unknown if the train was speeding at the time of the collision or traveling at an acceptable rate, at this point, some form of negligence appears to be the cause of the train accident.
POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEM COULD HAVE HELPED
Many trains in recent years have been equipped with a positive train control (PTC) system to help prevent train accidents of this nature. A PTC system relies on GPS, radio waves, and onboard computers to accurately track the speed and position of trains, either in use or parked on a rail. When used correctly and enabled, PTC systems can apply the brakes to try to stop collisions, or at least provide warnings to train engineers and conductors who then make the appropriate precautions. The Amtrak train in the February 5th, 2018 collision did not have a working PTC system.
LIABILITY MAY SHIFT BETWEEN TRAIN COMPANIES
Amtrak CEO and president Richard Anderson seemed quick to place blame for the deadly accident on CSX, the transportation company that owned and operated both the freight train and the stretch of train tracks. Anderson stated a CSX dispatcher instructed the Amtrak employees to divert to the occupied track. However, Anderson’s claim has not yet been confirmed by NTSB investigators. If proven true, the liability for damages resulting from the train crash could be placed primarily or completely on CSX.
(For more information about this ongoing story, you can click here to read a full article posted by CNN.)
Have you or a loved one been seriously injured in a train accident, like the Amtrak crash in South Carolina? You have the right to seek fair and maximized compensation from the liable parties through a personal injury claim. To learn how to begin a claim, contact M. Austin Jackson Attorney at Law and our Columbia and Augusta, Georgia train accident attorneys today. We would be happy to get you pointed in the right direction with a free case evaluation.