Amtrak Derailment Accident Lawyer

During the early Monday morning commute of December 18th, 2017, an Amtrak train traveling on railroad tracks owned and maintained by Sound Transit and formally owned by BNSF Railway derailed, tragically injuring and killing dozens of innocent passengers. The Amtrak train derailment resulted in cars blocking busy Interstate 5 at about 7:40 AM Monday morning near Dupont, Washington. The derailment occurred on the first trip of Amtrak 501 a new service train route that extends from Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene, Oregon.

After a tragic derailment such as the Amtrak derailment that occurred near Dupont, Washington, there are a lot of questions those affected by the derailment may have.  In the coming days, weeks, and months one of the main questions will be why did this happen and who is responsible.  The train derailment lawyers at Pottroff & Karlin are well-experienced attorneys who practice nationally and focus over 90% of their practice on answering these questions for railroad-related accidents.  Pottroff & Karlin has a team of attorneys who have successfully handled Amtrak derailments and been able to provide these critical answers to the innocent passengers injured.  If you have been involved in this derailment, please call us today at (785) 539-4656, send us an email at, or fill out the form below for a free case evaluation.  Contact us and we will discuss your options openly and honestly.

According to sources, the train involved in this derailment was traveling over 70 miles per hour at the time of the derailment. The train derailed sometimes near a turn as it prepared to cross the heavily traversed interstate. According to reports, there are multiple fatalities and at least. 77 people have been taken to local hospitals with serious injuries.

Amtrak Train Accident Lawyer | Pottroff & Karlin, LLCAmtrak, as a common carrier, has the legal duty to use the highest degree of care and diligence for the protection of its passengers.  Tragically, it is apparent that Amtrak did not meet that obligation in Dupont, Washington.  If railroad trains are not properly maintained and operated, tragedies can occur.  Similarly, if railroad tracks where Amtrak trains operate over are not properly maintained, then derailments can occur.  These are two of the common causes of many Amtrak derailments.

  • Amtrak and all railroads must develop a sufficient system safety program to eliminate these common causes of derailments.  In developing a system safety program it is necessary to build in considerations of human error and malfunctioning – things that occur naturally over time. Frequently, however, railroad companies have been known to ignore these facts in an attempt to save money – a series of minor decisions, perhaps, but the end result can cost lives.

Another factor to consider in this derailment is the fact that the train cars involved in the derailment are foreign made. Images from the derailment appear to reveal that the train cars involved in the derailment are foreign-made single axle cars that typically are used in European rail systems. However, the railroad industry is well aware that this type of designed rail car has proved dangerous when they run on American-built freight rail lines.

  • What is perhaps most tragic is that prior to Monday’s tragic derailment, city officials in the Washington region voiced their concerns about the dangerousness of this new high-speed train route along the I-5 interstate.  Sadly, it appears these concerns were left unaddressed on this rail route’s fatal maiden trip.

If you or your loved one is involved in this Amtrak derailment near Dupont, Washington, it is important that you contact an attorney who knows the technical details of railroad litigation. The lawyers of Pottroff & Karlin have devoted themselves solely to railroad safety, and are eager to help you with your problems.  Our attorneys not only seek all the compensation you are entitled to but after every derailment, we strive to force the railroads to increase safety and ensure that this tragedy does not happen to any other families.

Amtrak Passenger Train Crash in South Carolina, 2 Dead, 116 Injured.

Early Sunday morning February 4th, 2018 in South Carolina, an Amtrak passenger train crashed into an unmanned freight train when en the route between New York and Miami around 2:30 am. This tragedy leads to two of the Amtrak employees being killed including train engineer Michael Kempf age 54, from Savannah, Georgia, and conductor Michael Cella age 36 from Orange Park, Florida. 116 passengers also left the scene with moderate to severe injuries.

Amtrak Train Accident Lawyer | Pottroff & Karlin, LLCThe Amtrak Train 91 was scheduled to continue straight down the tracks but the rail switch was manually set to divert. It is under investigation as to why the padlocked switch was aligned to divert the train onto the rack where the CSX train was stationed. An investigation this size could take up to 12-18 months for a resolution. One thing that has been confirmed thus far is that the Amtrak’s brakes were applied but there was still not enough time for them to be effective. Several things took place that made this accident unavoidable including the darkness of the early hour, the rate at which the train was traveling (56 mph), and the surprise of the switch diverting the train from its path. The crew had almost no time to react prior to the impact. It’s been said that this tragedy could have been avoided by a system known as positive train control had been in place.

  • Positive train control is a technology using GPS, radio, and computers that monitors trains to keep them from speeding and derailing. It has been made into a rule that all railroad companies must have positive train control implemented within the next couple of years.
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Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James PerrinLubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluenHarriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. MillerMandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. ClarkAustin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert SchuetzeBoulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike EasleyArkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger BrownJefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth HardyLake Charles, Louisiana

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