West Virginia residents may have heard about the train derailment that occurred in Washington state in December 2017. At the time that the train derailed attempting to go around a curve, it was traveling at 78 miles per hour. However, the posted speed limit where the crash occurred was only 30 miles per hour. Three people were killed and 62 were injured in the accident.
An additional eight people were injured after train cars left the track and dangled over Highway 5. Despite the high rate of speed at the time of the accident, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have not yet determined the official cause of the accident. The engineer and conductor have not yet been interviewed as they recover from their injuries. According to the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, an automatic braking system is being tested and could be operational by June.
The NTSB said that the system may have helped to slow the train down in this incident. It is expected that the investigation into the crash could last for another 12 months. A representative from Amtrak only said that the company would cooperate fully with the investigation. One lawsuit has been filed in the aftermath of the crash. That was by a 24-year-old who claimed to have fractured multiple bones in the accident.
If a negligent conductor or negligence on behalf of any other party causes a train accident, victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Compensation may help pay medical bills and other related expenses. Negligence may occur if a conductor fails to observe posted speed limits or fails to adapt to changing track conditions.