The Lietz Law Firm Personal Injury Attorney: Amtrak Derailment Could Have Been Far Worse

January 15, 2014 | News

Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) December 12, 2013 – Several cars on an Amtrak train carrying 218 people derailed in South Carolina shortly after midnight on Monday, November 25, 2013.

Four passengers with minor injuries were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. The remaining passengers and 11 crew members escaped injury. According to authorities, Train 20′s two locomotives remained on the tracks. Seven of the train’s nine cars derailed but remained upright; Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney David Lietz said that probably made the difference between life and death.

“Passengers reported the trains swaying and tilting violently, so it is very lucky all the cars remained upright,” Lietz, who has extensive experience in mass transit accidents, said. “In contrast, the tragic Metro North accident in which four people lost their lives illustrates how much worse this incident could have turned out.”

Train 20 was en route from New Orleans to New York City. Carrie Lambert, a passenger at the back of the train, told the Associated Press that when her car derailed, it tilted violently enough to throw luggage about, and that she thought the car would tip over.

After the incident, most passengers spent hours waiting in the pre-dawn cold, but Amtrak said heating and lighting were quickly restored. Amtrak arranged for buses and trains to bring stranded passengers to their destinations further north along the east coast. By about 9 a.m., over 200 passengers had been let off the train and transferred to buses bound for North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Amtrak stated that the company is investigating the incident with the help of the Federal Railroad Administration and of Norfolk Southern, which owns and maintains the track on which it occurred.

Robin Chapman, spokesman for Norfolk Southern, said that there were two parallel tracks in the area, and that one remained open to traffic. Trains in the vicinity of the accident were slowed to “walking speed,” Chapman said. The normal speed limit for the area is 79 mph.

Chapman said he did not know the train’s speed when it left the tracks.

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