An Illinois family that was on board the Amtrak train that derailed in Missouri on June 27, 2022 is among those who will be filing lawsuits against the train operator, the railroad company, and the company operating the dump truck that was blocking the tracks as well as other potentially responsible parties.
The family of four, who was transported to a hospital for their injuries, contacted Krzak Rundio Law Group to get answers regarding the multiple failures that led to the derailment. The derailment caused them to sustain serious injuries that have changed their lives both physically and emotionally while on their trip home from a family wedding in Oklahoma.
The Amtrak train was headed to Chicago from Los Angeles, California, with intermittent stops on the journey back to Chicago. The family boarded the train in Newton, Kansas and was headed home to the Chicago area after celebrating a family wedding in Oklahoma. They had taken a bus from Oklahoma and boarded the train. They were supposed to switch trains in Kansas City, but Amtrak kept them on the train that derailed in Mendon, Missouri.
The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) is on the scene conducting an investigation into the derailment. They will conduct an investigation to determine the probable cause of the occurrence and will, among other things, look at whether the relevant Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) safety rules were followed. The NTSB will also look at the speed of the train, the grade of the crossing, and the type of crossing – in this instance, an uncontrolled grade crossing, which had no lights or electronic controls.
Early reports are pointing to how steep the crossing is for vehicular traffic. There are suggestions circulating that the crossing is a humped or low ground clearance crossing – which makes it difficult for large trucks or farm equipment to cross, leaving them vulnerable to getting stuck on the tracks.
Steep or uneven grades at crossings can also make visibility challenging for drivers, which may have additionally led to the incident. Railroad companies have a legal responsibility to ensure grade levels at railroad crossings are even and allow for maximum visibility. In the instance of the Missouri train derailment, there is evidence suggesting that Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) may have neglected to address concerns about grade visibility at the particular crossing where the accident occurred.
“Rail carriers like Amtrak owe their passengers the highest duty of care,” said Michael S. Krzak, founding partner of the Krzak Rundio Law Group. “Given the number of Amtrak derailments over the past few years, the safety culture of Amtrak and the rail industry needs to be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed. Continued failures in the passenger rail industry are simply unacceptable.”
“Krzak Rundio Law Group will examine and explore all of the possible causes to get to the root cause of this tragedy on behalf of our clients to make sure that future tragedies like this one can be avoided,” Krzak said. “Our clients want to be sure that the lessons learned from this tragedy are applied so that others don’t have to deal with the physical injuries, pain, and mental anguish they are suffering from as a result of this entirely preventable incident.”
Krzak Rundio Law Group is interested in speaking to any witnesses to the occurrence or individuals who have information relating to the crossing and other incidents or near-misses that were reported to the authorities. Krzak Rundio Law Group is also interested in receiving any and all photographs, digital images, videos, or other recorded information relating to the crossing before the occurrence, the derailment, or the aftermath of the derailment. The firm intends to file a lawsuit on behalf of the Illinois family against Amtrak, the railroad company, the trucking company, and all other potentially responsible entities that may come to light in the NTSB’s investigation or in Krzak Rundio Law Group’s independent investigation.
For further information, please contact Krzak Rundio Law Group Founding/Managing Partner, Michael Krzak at 312 519 4529 (cell) or 312 736 1111 (office).