Four Dead and Multiple Injured in Amtrak Train Derailment

By Aitken Aitken Cohn

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a devastating derailment that involved an Amtrak passenger train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago. The incident killed four people, and dozens of passengers suffered injuries after the Amtrak train collided with a dump truck while traveling through rural Missouri. According to authorities, three of those killed were train passengers, while the other was the truck driver. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that 150 people sought treatment at nearby hospitals for injuries that were “from mild to serious in nature.” According to reports, the train, which was carrying nearly 300 people, was traveling at around 90 mph at the time of the incident, contributing to the number of injuries reported, with seven of the eight passenger cars derailing.

An AP News report found that there had been previous concerns regarding the railroad crossing, with residents and local officials citing “visibility issues.” The risk factors included an overgrowth of brush and the steep incline from the road to the tracks, making it hard to see oncoming trains from either direction, according to nearby residents. Earlier this year, the Missouri Department of Transportation submitted its “State Freight & Rail Plan” plan, which included a proposal to install lights, gates, and roadway improvements at the crossing, but nothing was fixed.

A recent report found that while passenger trains, on average, tend to be one of the safest modes of transportation, derailments do happen and are more common than people might think. Government agencies have noted a sharp increase in train accidents on the country’s railways over the years. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which analyzes and compiles information about the nation’s transportation systems, found that there have been nearly 55,000 accidents involving train derailments since the first year that the agency began tracking derailments and injuries every year, up until last year in 2021.

The attorneys at Aitken Aitken Cohn have experience fighting for safer railroad travel. Our firm is proud to have been lead counsel against Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway and Metrolink due to the Placentia train collision in 2003. Lead attorney Wylie Aitken fought on behalf of individuals who were significantly injured in the deadly train collision. The allegations indicated that the Burlington Northern train accelerated to speeds upwards of 48 miles per hour, despite the presence of at least one warning signal that should have caused the conductor to slow the train. More importantly, however, the lawsuits placed fault on both Metrolink and Burlington, pointing toward a systemwide problem that allowed two trains to end up on the same track simultaneously, with deadly results. Our firm also served on the Plaintiff Steering Committee’s Legislative Subcommittee for the Chatsworth rail disaster in September 2008. We helped introduce legislation for compensation in both houses of Congress and obtained bill sponsors which spurred a $200 million settlement for the largest commuter rail crash disaster in California and US history.

The personal injury lawyers at Aitken Aitken Cohn have first-hand experience in fighting for the rights of railroad passengers that have been physically and emotionally injured in traumatic train accidents and urge railroad companies to adopt and enforce the safety measures recommended by the NTSB. If you or someone you love has been injured in a railroad accident, contact the experienced Orange County railroad accident attorneys at Aitken today for a free consultation.