In the past seven weeks, Amtrak train derailments and crashes in DuPont, Washington (on December 17, 2017) and in Cayce South Carolina (in the early morning hours of February 4, 2018) have killed five people and injured close to 200, causing tremendous suffering for those injured and great loss for the surviving family members of those who died.

On the morning of December 18, 2017, an Amtrak train derailed near Tacoma, Washington, as it headed from Seattle to Portland, Oregon. The tragedy left three people dead and injured dozens more. Two lawsuits have been filed against Amtrak and others will follow to hold those responsible for this senseless derailment accountable.

This was the first passenger run for the Amtrak Cascades 501 high-speed train on its brand new route on a newly upgraded set of freight tracks that Amtrak had never operated on before with paying passengers. Witnesses reported the train was going about 80 miles per hour (almost three times the posted speed limit) when it derailed, sending several cars onto the highway below that crushed vehicles on the road. One train car remained hanging precariously on the track. The engineer and conductor who were in the lead locomotive of that train have since admitted to National Transportation Safety Board investigators that they did not see the 30 mph speed limit sign located about two miles before the 30 mph curve where thy derailed. The engineer has said he applied the train brakes as soon as he saw the 30 mph sign at the start of the curve (which inward-facing audio-video recorders indicate occurred less than six seconds before the derailment). By then, it was too late to prevent the derailment.

On February 4, 2018 - an astonishing 7 weeks later -- another Amtrak train (Silver Star Train 91) crashed into a stationary CSX freight train near Columbia, South Carolina, killing two people and injuring dozens more. The initial reports indicate that cause of this tragedy is the Amtrak train operating on the wrong rail because of signals that were out of order and a padlocked switch.

These entirely preventable tragedies have to end. Clifford Law Offices has been very outspoken about the need for greater training of engineers as well as the dire need to get Positive Train Control (PTC) - a GPS automated control system (available for decades) that monitors train position and speed to make sure that humans operating trains are doing so within certain operating criteria such as speed limits -which would automatically slow down or stop a train when human error such as a distracted engineer who misses a speed limit sign or a padlocked switch which puts the train on the wrong track occur.

Certainly these passengers need to know their legal rights and have a voice in putting an end to the lackluster efforts of rail owners and operators in getting PTC in place so that the repeated failures can be corrected. Clifford Law Offices has represented a number of people involved in train crashes, particularly against Amtrak.

Partner Kevin Durkin served as co-lead counsel in a tragic case of an Amtrak crash that occurred in Bourbonnais, Illinois, representing a number of people who were injured or killed in the far south suburban crash in 1999.

Founder and senior partner Robert A. Clifford and Mr. Durkin's trial accomplishments include the highly publicized case of internationally acclaimed violinist, Rachel Barton, who was severely injured when a Chicago commuter train dragged her for more than 300 feet. After taking dozens of depositions and a pain-staking investigation for more than four years, the month-long trial resulted in a record $29.6 million verdict that later settled for $35 million.

If you need a train accident attorney, please consult with Clifford Law Offices by calling them at (800) 899-0410. The firm has the resources and experience to navigate the complex process in fighting for you and your family involving injuries or death related to train Accidents.

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