Train accidents are far more common than people think. An estimated 1000 people die in train accidents in the U.S. each year. Every 90 minutes, another train derails or is involved in a collision. The MARC, one of the fastest, and busiest commuter railway systems in our nation, has also has its fair share of accidents.
People injured in accidents involving MARC commuter trains can suffer devastating injuries, including brain injury, multiple broken bones, burns over their body, crushed lungs, and serious, disabling permanent injuries. In many cases, these accidents could have been prevented. Investigators have regularly found that negligence has caused or contributed to a train derailment, train collision, or other type of train crash.
The Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train system includes three lines in the Baltimore-Washington metro area: The Camden Line, the Penn Line, and the Brunswick Line. MARC uses 84 trains during the week on its lines, with trains capable of traveling up to 125 miles an hour. It has actually been in service in one way or another since the 1830s, when it operated along what came to be known as the Camden Line.
Train Accidents and Human Error
Accidents have occurred throughout MARC’s existence, including many tragic incidents, such as the Feb. 16, 1996 collision of the Brunswick Line with an Amtrak train, killing 11 people aboard the MARC. Official investigation into the cause of the accident suggested that the collision might have been prevented if a human error analysis had been conducted and factored in when the track signaling system had been modified.
Another accident, on Feb. 7, 2008, occurred when an Amtrak switcher train struck and derailed a MARC train in Union Station. The Amtrak had been traveling too fast. Fortunately, just seven people suffered minor injuries.
This past May 2012, an unidentified man was killed after being struck by a southbound MARC train in Rosedale. That incident may still be under investigation.
Factors That Contribute to Train Crashes
Issues that may contribute to Maryland commuter train accidents include:
- Failed computer systems
- Poorly maintained train tracks that cause a train to go off course
- Train operator/conductor distraction, including inattention due to texting, talking with colleagues, or talking on a cell phone
- Outdated railcars or outdated equipment
- Faulty train signals that place two trains on a collision course with one another
Negligence and Commuter Line Accidents
Negligence can play a role in commuter line accidents. The negligence may be on the part of train operators and employees. It may be negligence in making sure that the train’s sophisticated computer systems are working properly. It can involve poorly maintained train equipment. It can occur because potential safety and maintenance issues were not resolved before the train entered service.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Columbia, Maryland
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a train derailment or collision, an attorney can protect your rights and help you determine the cause of the accident. If negligence was involved, you may have a right to seek compensation to pay for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and other types of damages. To schedule an appointment with an experienced personal injury attorney at the Smith Personal Injury Law Firm, in Columbia, Maryland, call (410) 441-5054 or contact us online.