Amtrak Train Derailment Investigation Continues

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 14-May-2015


Posted by Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner

More than 200 passengers were injured and eight people were killed in Tuesday night’s Amtrak crash along one of the busiest stretches of passenger train corridors in the country. According to the Washington Post, as the investigation of the recent Amtrak derailment continues, two key questions surrounding the crash are still unanswered:

  • Why was the train moving at twice the speed limit when it entered the curve? The speed limit at that location was 50 mph. Records revealed that the train was moving at 106 mph when the brakes were applied. Even after the brakes were applied, the speed only decreased to 102 by the time the crash occurred three seconds later.
  • What can be learned from the train’s engineer? As of today, the engineer has not provided much information. According to his attorney, the engineer was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and his cell phone was turned off and stored per regulations.

A board member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made the point that Positive Train Control, a technology that prevents trains from exceeding speed limits is available and mandated to be installed on all U.S. rail systems by the end of the year.  However,  the particular section of track where the derailment occurred did not have the system installed yet.

Investigators are conducting additional tests to examine the tracks for “witness marks” that show where the train wheels dinged the tracks while derailing, whether the brakes were operating properly, “survivability of individual cars” to determine why some cars were heavily damaged and others were not, whether emergency exits worked properly, and why windows broke as they did. As the examinations continue, factors such as speed, potential engineer errors and equipment failures will hopefully answer some questions about this tragedy as well as offer insight in prevention of future tragedies.

If you have any questions about this post or want to discuss a potential claim against Amtrak, you may contact Mr. Zambri by phone at 202-822-1899 or click here to email him directly.  Mr. Zambri's firm served as lead counsel in successfully representing injured parties and family members during litigation stemming from the 2009 Fort Totten Metro (WMATA) accident on the Red Line. Mr. Zambri & his firm also represent the family of the woman tragically killed as well as many other victims from the 2015 Metro (WMATA) smoke incident at L'Enfant Plaza.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year".  Super Lawyers recently named him among the "Top Ten" lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 100″ lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best-most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners.  His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA.  Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) - national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri



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