OMAHA, Nebraska. An Amtrak train providing high-speed service between Seattle and Portland recently derailed, resulting in 77 people being hospitalized and leaving several others dead. The accident raises many questions because the accident occurred on the first day of service between the two cities. Initial reports indicate that no motorists died, while the train was carrying 78 people and 77 people were reported injured. Initial second-hand reports indicate lacerations, traumatic brain injury, and other serious and life-threatening injuries. The New York Times reports that one train was dangling from an overpass over 1-5 and another train had flipped onto the Interstate below.
The Atlantic reports that train derailments in the U.S. are quite common. Despite this, fatalities remain rare. When train accidents do occur, they are more likely to be the result of track problems or equipment failure rather than human error. Rail service in the U.S. is slow. While trains tend to be modern, tracks tend to be old and cannot always accommodate newer high-speed trains. Lack of government funding for railroads makes it less likely that the rail system in the U.S. will see improvements. While technology exists that could prevent derailments around sharp curves, the railroad industry has lobbied for extended deadlines on putting this technology in place. It isn’t clear whether it was in place in the Washington train.
Even though human error is rare, investigators are looking into whether distracted driving may have played a factor in the accident.
It isn’t likely that we’ll know the cause of the Amtrak accident for months to come. However, initial reports indicate that local government officials in Tacoma were concerned about the safety of the proposed route. Government officials claimed that there weren’t enough safety features in place to protect riders.
Until government and train owners are held responsible for injuries suffered by victims, railroads and government-run public transportation will continue to see problems. The government and train owners have a responsibility to keep railroads safe and to use the best possible technology to protect riders. While it remains to be seen what happened in this crash, initial reports indicate that certain government officials were concerned about the safety of the route.
Initial reports indicate that the train may have struck an object on the tracks, but it isn’t entirely clear what happened that led to the derailment. The train may have been traveling much faster than it should have when it hit the embankment.
This train crash is quite serious and information is still coming to light, but it highlights the real dangers of traveling on public transportation. Individuals can be injured in public transportation even when no crash occurs. Every year, people slip and fall or are struck as pedestrians.
If you or a loved one was hurt in Omaha, Nebraska while using public transportation or while driving, you may have certain rights under the law. Rensch & Rensch Law are Omaha, Nebraska personal injury lawyers who can help you and your loved ones seek damages for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Visit our firm at https://www.renschandrensch.com/ today to learn more about how we can help you seek the justice you may deserve.