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Amtrak Train Bound for Chicago Derailed

In recent years, there have been many incidents of train crashes and/or derailments in the news. Personal injury attorneys have helped victims and their families recover following injuries to themselves or the death of loved ones. Whether the railroad crash was due to human error or mechanical problems, there are numerous options available to attorneys to file personal injury claims on behalf of the victims of these accidents to help them begin to rebuild their lives.

Amtrak Train Bound for Chicago Derailed

At least seven people were taken to the hospital after an Amtrak train bound for Chicago derailed in southwest Nebraska. On August 26, 2011, an Amtrak train departed from San Francisco carrying approximately 175 passengers. The train derailed at 8:00 a.m. when it crashed into equipment which had been left on the tracks.

Two locomotives and three passenger cars flew off the tracks. Some of the other cars leaned over on their side, but there were no reports of any fires. Mark Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman, says he cannot verify the exact number of people injured, but says that no one is believed to have life-threatening injuries.

Seven people were treated at Dundy County Hospital and considered “stable.” While no one was seriously injured in this accident, fatalities are common in train crashes due to the size and speed of the trains.

Train Accidents Involving Fatalities

In June of 2011, a deadly collision between an Amtrak train and a large Peterbilt truck killed six people and injured twenty more. More than 200 passengers and 14 crew members were on board when the train was struck by a big rig truck in the Nevada desert.

The driver of the truck, Lawrence Valli, slammed on his brakes and skidded for about 100 yards before slamming into the train, causing it to derail. Valli was killed in the collision.

Two lawsuits, both by Amtrak employees, have been filed against Amtrak, Lawrence Valli‘s estate, and his employer John Davis Trucking Company. Amtrak train attendant, Alexandra Curtis, claims she has suffered permanent injuries and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She is blaming Valli for ignoring warning signs and railroad crossing gates.

Valli had a record of reckless driving that included three speeding tickets in the last four years, using a cell phone while driving, and carrying a load that was too long.

The second Amtrak employee to file a personal injury lawsuit, Lana Dickerson, also named Amtrak in her suit. Twenty-six year old Dickerson claims that after the accident, she was attempting to lead surviving passengers to safety when their path of escape was blocked by a locked baggage car door. The group then had to turn around, and go back through a burning car, walk over several dead bodies and jump out a window to a rocky rail bed fifteen feet below.

While Dickerson’s personal injury suit names the truck driving company, the main focus of her suit is on Amtrak and its policy that led to a locked baggage car door. Lawyers from both sides are studying Amtrak policies to determine if they required this particular door to be locked.

While these personal injury lawsuits may give relief and compensation to these employees, the victims also hope that their efforts can result in safer policies being enacted in the future.

Statute of Limitations for filing a personal injury claim

Most states require that a personal injury lawsuit filed against a carrier be filed within a certain time frame, or statute of limitations. If the suit is not brought before the designated deadline, the injured party loses his right to recover for injuries and/or damages. For example, California has a time period of two years from the date of the accident. Courts adhere strictly to these deadlines.

Additionally, if the carrier is government-owned such as Amtrak, there may be unique notices that are required to be given within a certain time frame. Some of these time requirements may be very short, within thirty to sixty days. These policies are set forth by local municipal regulations. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you file your personal injury claim within the specific statute of limitations and get you the compensation you need to recover from your personal injuries.

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