Amtrak 188 derailment

Train accidents are often catastrophic because of the size of the vehicles and the speed at which they travel, such as the Amtrak Train 188 derailment in Philadelphia several years ago that killed eight people and left some 200 injured. Most recently, the Amtrak Empire Builder derailed near Joplin, Montana, killing at least three people and injuring 50 others.

Kline & Specter, PC, is uniquely qualified to handle major train disasters, having played leading roles in representing victims  of  several derailments involving Amtrak and other train carriers. Tom Kline served as lead lawyer of the Plaintiffs Management Committee in the Amtrak 188 consolidated federal litigation leading the effort that produced the record $265 million settlement for the victims and their families. Kline was also lead lawyer of the plaintiffs steering committee for a Hoboken, N.J., train crash, in which significant settlements were achieved.

If you or a loved one suffered a severe injury or death in a train accident, you should contact Kline & Specter, which has more than 40 attorneys, five of whom are also medical doctors – the most for any law firm in the United States. Our attorneys have experience with litigation involving mass transit agencies and will ensure that you receive a fair resolution of your case. Get a free evaluation of your train accident case.

The Amtrak Empire Builder that derailed in Montana on Sept. 25, 2021, was carrying passengers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. It was traveling from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest with 141 passengers and 16 crew members when eight of its 10 cars derailed in a remote part of Montana.

Train accidents are over in minutes, but the recovery effort and complex litigation that follows can often last for years. If you have been a victim of a train accident, you may have grounds for a train accident lawsuit and should contact our lawyers at 800-243-1100 for a free evaluation of your case. We have offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. For cases outside those states, Kline & Specter works with local attorneys in each state as applicable.

Amtrak cases

Kline & Specter has been a leader in litigation against Amtrak. The Amtrak 188 case, with Tom Kline chairing the Plaintiffs Management Committee, resulted in a $265 million settlement for the victims, many of whom were Kline & Specter clients. The judge presiding in the case praised Kline’s leadership role in not only reaching the settlement but achieving equitable settlements for the families of the decedents and the injured parties.

In subsequent litigation, Kline helped reach a settlement for the family of one of two men killed in the Amtrak 189 crash in Chester, Pa. The maintenance workers were killed and 41 people hospitalized when the train struck a backhoe on a track that was supposed to have been closed at the time, according to a subsequent investigation. The locomotive derailed and two other cars were badly damaged. 

Increased number of accidents

Statistics show that train accidents are on the rise, with increased rail travel and freight transportation and greater use of modern devices such as smart phones, GPS and headphones contributing to the problem.

Increased Rail Transportation

With the increase of U.S. oil production through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the use of trains to move the product across the country has also increased. U.S. railroads now ship about 400,000 carloads of crude oil, compared to just 9,500 in 2008. This boom has brought more train-related disasters. In 2013, for instance, a train derailed in Canada near the Maine border, causing a fire and explosion that killed 47 people.

Train accidents involving collisions between vehicles or pedestrians at train crossings have also been on the rise, with a 15 percent increase in fatalities 2014.

Among the states with the most pedestrian-train collisions were Pennsylvania and New York.

SEPTA Accidents

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) transports millions of passengers annually on over 1.45 billion miles of bus routes, subways tracks, trolleys and regional rails. With so much ground covered and so many different forms of transportation involved, it is not a question of if an incident will occur, but when. Kline & Specter has been involved in several lawsuits against SEPTA, one involving a defective escalator which resulted in a $51 million verdict for a boy whose foot was amputated. Another case against SEPTA ended with a large settlement for a boy who was killed due to faulty train equipment.

PATCO Accidents

The Port Authority Transit Corporation, or PATCO, is another railway that accommodates millions of commuters each year, transporting more than 10 million people annually. PATCO, a partner of the Delaware River Port Authority, has been plagued for years by maintenance issues and aging rail cars. Harsh weather has damaged many cars, forcing some to short out or overheat. These incidents have caused mass evacuations and in some recent cases required hospitalization of passengers.

Train accidents are over in minutes, but the recovery effort and complex litigation that follows can often last for years. If you have been a victim of a train accident, you should call an attorney at Kline & Specter at 800-243-1100 for a free evaluation of your case. The law firm has offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware and has more than 40 attorneys, five of whom are also doctors.

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