Although car accidents are often the common cause for wrongful death and personal injury claims, it’s usually commercial vehicle crashes that get the most attention. From plane crashes to commuter bus accidents, these types of crashes grab our attention not only because of the number of people who are usually involved but because we all have an expectation when we ride these types of vehicles that the driver will keep us safe when traveling.
This was probably the expectation of many passengers on a commuter train that derailed in the Bronx recently. The train was nearing a curve in the tracks when the train engineer says that he applied the brakes. According to the conductor though the brakes failed, which caused all seven passengers cars to jump the tracks. Four people died as a result of the serious accident, which also injured at least 67 more.
Despite the fact that other trains have crashed on this same curve in the past, one investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board does not believe that the curve in the track was to blame but rather the train operator’s decisions prior to the crash. The investigator believes that the train may have been going too quickly when approaching the curve, causing it to derail. Distraction or even impairment could have also been factors though investigators are not ruling out mechanical failure.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the train operator could be found negligent and could be held responsible for the deaths and injuries of the passengers on the train. This could result in civil litigation if the victims and their families decide to take this course of action in the weeks and months to come.
Source: CNN News, “New York passenger train derails, killing 4 and hindering Monday commutes,” Eden Pontz and Catherine E. Shoichet, Dec. 2, 2013