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Amtrak Disaster in Philadelphia Kills Six, Injures 150 More - Terrible Tragedy

In what is being called by Philadelphia's Mayor as an "absolute, disastrous mess" last night (May 12, 2015), an Amtrak train derailed reportedly leaving six people dead and nearly 150 more people hospitalized. Six of those reportedly are in critical condition and a representative from the Mayor's office said that those who were able to leave the train are like "the walking wounded." National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials are on the scene investigating as well as rescue workers going through the mangled wreckage. Witnesses report that everything went flying, including people, when the train incident occurred last night. Amtrak Northwest Regional Train 188 was traveling from Washington, D.C., headed to New York carrying 238 passengers and five crew members when it derailed about 9:30 p.m. in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia. All seven cars and the engine were derailed and in various stages of leaving the railroad tracks in what has been described as a mangled mess. Investigators are looking into what may have caused the incident. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also said that he has never seen anything of such a disastrous level in his life.

Second Uber Driver Accused of Sexual Assaulting Passenger in Chicago

For the second time in less than three weeks, two drivers of an Uber ride sharing service have been charged separately with assaulting passengers in the Chicago area. The relatively new taxi service, which has become popular in many large cities through downloading an app on one's mobile device, has been criticized by many, including senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, Robert Clifford, for its lack of safety precautions, background checks and insurance coverage. The latest incident involved a 46-year-old Villa Park man, who was charged with criminal sexual assault, unlawful restraint and kidnapping, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was held in lieu of $150,000 bond. Reportedly, the incident occurred some six months ago when the driver picked up a 21-year-old male in the 700 block of West Cornelia in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. The passenger was told to sit in the front seat because the back seat was broken, according to media reports. The driver allegedly refused to take the passenger home and allegedly committed the assault at that time in his car. Right before the New Year, another Uber driver was charged with raping an inebriated female UberX customer in the driver's Albany Park apartment. Clifford testified before an Illinois legislative committee as well as a committee of the Chicago City Council on this important topic that requires further scrutiny. To read about what Mr. Clifford warned earlier about the need for tougher restrictions, please go to the following links: Bob Clifford has been very vocal on this subject. He also spoke on the issue to consumers on the firm's blog: And he wrote a column on ride sharing for the Chicago Lawyer publication that appeared in the May, 2014 issue: Uber's legal problems don't end there. A class action lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that alleges that the ride sharing company has "charged tens of thousands of customers fictitious LAX airport fees, though its drivers don't pay anything to the airport." The suit was filed on Jan. 6 "alleging breach of contract, fraudulent concealment, conversion, unjust enrichment and other counts." The attorney who filed the 16-page complaint there alleged that "licensed taxis pay Los Angeles International Airport more than $3 million in fees, and that Uber is not authorized to operate at the airport but nonetheless charges passengers a $4 fee."

Will Taxis Become Extinct? Some Interesting Videos on Ride Sharing

Learn How Uber Connects Riders With Drivers Uber is a transportation networking company (TNC) that connects riders directly with drivers through a downloadable smartphone app and other advanced technologies. See how it works on the Uber YouTube channel. View video.

Some Interesting Numbers on Uber -- Did you know....

$10 Billion After just five years in business, Uber is expected to hit $10 billion in annual revenues by the end of 2015. Uber's take is 20 percent after paying drivers, or an estimated $2 billion.
200 Cities Uber is now available in more than 200 cities in 53 countries. But rapid growth has also fueled an anti-Uber backlash throughout the world.
"F" Rating Uber recently received an "F" from the Better Business Bureau, stemming from 200 complaints in the past three years due to problems with billing and customer service.

To Uber or Not to Uber?

Controversy Grows With Popularity of Uber

Uber created a better mousetrap in the world of for-hire transportation. Its technology seamlessly links riders and drivers through a smartphone app that is one-tap easy to use. Becoming an Uber driver is almost as effortless, allowing people from all walks of life to earn money with their personal vehicle. The results have been staggering: Raving fans have propelled Uber from a tiny San Francisco startup in 2009 to a major enterprise today now operating in more than 200 cities and 53 countries. The company will hit $10 billion in revenues in 2015 (it took Facebook 10 years to do the same) and is estimated to be worth more than $40 billion. But controversy has grown around Uber almost as fast as the company itself:

Follow Up on Indiana Megabus Crash

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that 28 people were injured in a Megabus crash Saturday (Dec. 20, 2014) in downstate Indiana on I-65 that shut down the roadway while rescue crews worked to get people to area hospitals. The driver of the bus has been identified in the media as a 50-year-old man from Olympia Fields, a southern suburb of Chicago, who lost control of the vehicle as he was changing lanes near mile marker 55. Another Megabus crashed in Litchfield, Illinois, on I-55 two years ago and Clifford Law Offices represents five people who suffered injuries in that accident as well as serves as local counsel for a sixth passenger. Clifford Law Offices, which is experienced in bus crash litigation, also represents a family who was injured in yet another Megabus crash in October, just a few months ago, that was headed on that same route to Atlanta, Georgia. The personal injury firm with experience in transportation litigation on behalf of plaintiffs also represents four families who suffered injuries in a bus crash carrying commuters to O'Hare Airport earlier this year - that was not a Megabus involved in that incident. The Megabus incident that occurred this past weekend is still under investigation.  

Megabus Crash in Indiana Injures 27

Yet another Megabus incident reportedly has left more than two dozen people injured as it traveled from Chicago bound for Louisville, Kentucky, about 250 southwest of Chicago. The final stop was to be Atlanta, Georgia. The double-decker Megabus reportedly slid off an Indiana highway near Seymour, Indiana, and flipped on its side, injuring some 27 passengers who were taken to local hospitals. It was reported that 70 people were on board. Rescue crews responded at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday (Dec. 20, 2014). The Indiana State Police reported that weather and speed contributed to the incident on Interstate 65. In October, just a few months ago, a Megabus on this route on I-65 was involved in another crash south of Indianapolis that injured several people.

School Bus Crash Kills Three in Knoxville, Tennessee

  A tragic crash involving two school buses in Knoxville, Tennessee, killed two children and one adult Tuesday afternoon and injured another 27 people, most of them young children. The horrific event has left the entire community in mourning. Two buses were bringing school children home on a Tennessee highway when one bus reportedly made a sharp left turn and crossed over a concrete median, hitting the second school bus that was traveling in the opposite direction. The crash caused the second bus to flip onto its side and slide, according to several media reports. The children who were tragically killed were in the third grade or younger and the adult was a teacher's aide, according to reports. As many as 20 other children were treated at area hospitals. Witnesses reported that people were running out of their cars to help. The superintendent of one of the schools involved called the event "an unspeakable tragedy." Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reportedly are on the scene to investigate the cause of this terrible crash.

NTSB Likely to Look into Poor Communications and Inadequate Maintenance of Passenger & Repair Trains that Crashed in Arkansas

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is on the scene of the crash of two trains in Arkansas that has left at least five people in critical condition.   It has been reported that a passenger train operated by the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad as an historic excursion tour from Springdale to Van Buren, Arkansas broke down during its tour and a second repair train came looking for the broken down train in an effort to help fix the problem.   The area of track in which it was operating was one that was in a "dark" area, meaning that the track is not remotely controlled by signals or automated switches and train sensing devices, and thus the location of trains operating on the track is not discernable via sensed systems.  The "rescue" repair train reportedly came around a corner too fast to stop and slammed into the stalled passenger excursion tour train head-on, injuring about 36 of the 44 passengers and sending at least five to the hospital with critical injuries.   The NTSB will likely be getting event recorders from the two trains, electronic data recording devices similar to black boxes on aircraft, which would be analyzed at its Washington, D.C. headquarters by the weekend, as well as radio communications records, so some early train motion and crew action data may be made available by that government agency soon.   The NTSB go-to team, headed by railroad investigator-in-charge Jim Southworth and Board Member Mark Rosekind, will likely be looking into the communications between the two trains, human factors issues such as fatigue and sleep history, any train position locating equipment and the speed policies for the corner area of track that the trains were traveling on, the reasons that this area of track was still "dark" and without the protective features of modern controlled track, as well as maintenance records and practices that may have led to the initial breakdown of the tour train, said Kevin P. Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices who has handled a number of railroad crash cases throughout the country and is experienced in this area of liability.   For further information or to speak to Kevin Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices, please contact Clifford Law Offices' Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909.

Latest Update: Passengers Involved in Megabus Accident Arrive In Chicago

After more than 15 hours after at least 18 people were injured in Megabus overturning near Indianapolis on northbound I-65, passengers arrived in Chicago, according to ABC 7 Chicago. Indiana State Police reported to the press that the accident resulted when the bus driver swerved to avoid a disabled car on the wet road, causing the double-decker topple over, ABC 7 Chicago reported. According to Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers, the events were as follows: "[The car] was stopped there, and the bus came along and clipped him in the rear end, causing a pinball effect. The car goes to the right-hand side into the ditch, and the bus goes off to the median where it strikes the cable barriers and overturns," according to the IndyStar newspaper. Upon arriving in Chicago, one passenger described the aftermath of the incident as "total panic and chaos," while another, when asked if he would ever ride a Megabus again, responded, "Hell, no! Never again," ABC 7 Chicago reported. Unfortunately, this accident was one in a chain of major incidents involving Megabus coach buses as federal records obtained by the ABC investigative team revealed 15 similar crashes across the country in the past two years, ABC 7 Chicago reported. Attorneys at Clifford Law Offices represent four people who were injured in an Aug. 2, 2012 Megabus accident on I-55 in Illinois when a left tire blew out, causing the bus to veer off the road and enter the media where it struck a guardrail and then a concrete bridge structure.  One person died in that terrible tragedy and several others were injured.

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