Lawsuit Against Amtrak: As an Overview

Amtrak Sees the driver of Its Trips to Spokane For $15,000 Over Speeding Charge

The engineer who was in the controls of a train that crashed into a train station near Seattle, Washington, earlier this year has filed a lawsuit against Amtrak in Pierce County Superior Court, charging the train company with negligence. According to KTVH, an attorney representing the plaintiff, Thomas Greco, says that the engineer made the judgment necessary to avoid a catastrophic train accident that claimed the lives of seven people and injured many more. Amtrak has previously been found negligent in other situations, but this is the first time it has been sued in connection with a train wreck.

Lawsuit Against Amtrak

What exactly was responsible for this accident? Investigators have determined that the engineer made the judgment necessary to avoid serious train accidents. A recent study by the National Transportation Safety Board showed that most railroad accidents involving large trucks involved in what is considered as a behavioral chance. This means that the truck driver, not the engineer, was in charge of the train’s movement, not the engineer. Yet, according to Greco, the engineer conducted himself in a way that caused him to be liable in this case.

In the summer, Amtrak experienced a derailment of a cargo train in Washington state.

The accident claimed the lives of five people, as well as injuring many others. Amtrak immediately pulled over the train and had the engineer to complete the necessary safety checks prior to taking it out of service. Yet, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, the engineer did not complete these checks, which resulted in him failing to ensure that the train was in proper condition for operation and thus resulting in the derailment. A Washington State statute requires that such checks are conducted, especially if the engineer knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the train is defective.

Amtrak has since hired an outside legal firm to investigate the train accident, which they hope will lead to a lawsuit against AM Trains Inc. (AMT).

According to the legal team of Amtrak, this derailment was caused by negligence on the part of the engineer, who was checking the train for “defective brakes” before the derailment took place. They say that AMT should have instructed the engineer to make sure that the brakes were in good condition. AMT maintains that it was not negligent, stating that the brakes were properly checked before the train left its yard and that they had been retrofitted after the derailment.

The Amtrak lawsuit, however, points to another factor that may have caused the accident.

That factor is the Washington State limit on speed limits for freight trains in that state. As defined, the law requires that a train traveling at any speed less than the posted limit should be “cautious” and proceed through the curve in a careful manner. Yet, this law is widely seen as having no exceptions, so it may well apply in this case as well.

The derailment occurred near Seattle, Washington, close to the Canadian border.

Amtrak maintains that it was not negligent in this regard, but the train conductor should have been properly trained in speed limits for freight trains and have also been trained in handling an emergency situation. In this case, the train conductor became “cautious” when approaching the curve, while the engineer failed to apply the proper braking force needed to bring the train to a complete stop. This, according to Amtrak, was a “fatal” mistake. Thus, Amtrak is trying to use this lawsuit as a way to recoup some of its costs for retrofitting its cars for faster speeds, as well as to try to get the Washington State speed limit law changed.

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