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Articles Posted in Train Accident

Every day thousands of people in and around the Boston metro area rely on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Association (MBTA) for transportation. MBTA provides several public transportation options, including busses, ferries, commuter rail, and the subway. According to the American Public Transportation Service, MBTA’s commuter rail service – nicknamed the “T” –  is one of the busiest in the nation. On the average weekday, more than one million people use its subway system. Unfortunately, with such high ridership – and some serious maintenance issues – MBTA accidents are relatively common. When an injury accident is a result of negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Common Carriers

According to MA state law, MBTA and other transportation companies are held to a higher standard of care due to their classification as “common carriers.” When this standard is violated, MBTA may be liable for resulting injuries and damages. Although some accidents occur due to the excessive speed of trains or busses, they are more likely to occur at MBTA train and subway stations due to unsafe conditions on platforms, stairs, or escalators. A Boston MBTA accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a MBTA-related accident.

Recent MBTA Accidents

In August, a female pedestrian was killed after being struck and run over by a MBTA swing-loader. The vehicle was being used in a three-month bridge project near the Central Street MBTA station. In 2016, a male pedestrian in Dorchester was hit by a MBTA bus, suffering life-threatening injuries. The victim later died. Also last year, the engine of an Orange Line MBTA train overheated, igniting some trash. Train cars quickly filled with smoke, and passengers had to break windows to escape. Fortunately, everyone survived, but three people were hospitalized.

Some of the Orange Line trains are decades old, and maintenance has been marginal at best. Sadly, the incidents above are just a few of the many MBTA-related accidents that have occurred over the last few years. Many have been fatal. So, what’s going on?

Drowning in Debt

Lack of funding and maintenance issues have plagued MBTA for years. The company is drowning in debt and has a repair backlog in the billions. “The problem we have is a problem of literally decades of disinvestment,” said former Massachusetts DOT director Jim Aloisi. But ridership only continues to grow. A MA personal injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a MBTA-related accident.

Types of Accidents

Accidents involving trains and subways often result in serious injuries, including head trauma, bone fractures, and internal injuries. Minor injuries, such as sprains and bruising, may also occur. In recent years, MBTA accidents have involved:

  • Trains colliding with vehicles
  • Pedestrian accidents involving trains and busses
  • Slip and fall accidents due to negligent maintenance of MBTA locations
  • Passengers falling when trains stop suddenly and unexpectedly
  • Negligent railway design
  • Lack of adequate warning signage for hazards or oncoming trains
  • Train derailment
  • Fatigued or distracted conductors and drivers
  • Hazardous cargo spills
  • Excessive speed

Continue reading

One passenger was injured in a Braintree, MA train accident on Wednesday. The incident happened when a commuter train hit the cab of a tractor-trailer after the truck’s wheels had gotten stuck on the track. Fortunately the trucker was able to jump out of the vehicle in time.

Some 60 people were in the train when the crash happened. According to CBS Boston, the injured train passenger, who reported back pain, was transported to the hospital.

In Massachusetts, our Boston train crash lawyers represent passengers and vehicle occupants with injury and wrongful death claims. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today.

A recent Holbrook, Massachusetts, car-train accident is under investigation involving a Boston-bound commuter train and an elderly woman who has died from her injuries. According to authorities, Ann Kireilis, 91, from Brockton, was crossing the train tracks near the Holbrook-Avon border at the East High Street crossing when the train collided with the car at about 11:45 a.m. In a statement released by MBTA, spokesman Joe Pesaturo said that the warning gates were down and investigators found that the crossing’s warning system was activated 39 seconds prior to the arrival of the northbound train at the crossing. He said the engineer applied the emergency brake when he saw the car, but was unable to fully stop before hitting the car. Holbrook Fire Chief Edward O’Brien reported that Kireilis appeared to be driving over the rail crossing west toward Avon at the time. He said, “I don’t know if she misjudged the (crossing) gate, it’s tough to tell.”

No one on the train was injured and the commuter train continued its trip to Boston around 1 p.m. with approximately 130 passengers aboard.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 15% of all traffic fatalities in 2008 were seniors, aged 65 or older. Approximately 80% of all traffic fatalities involving older drivers happened during the daytime, 72% occurred on weekdays, and 69% were involving other vehicles. Because the NHTSA predicts that there will be approximately 40 million drivers who are 65 or older by 2020, the organization provides detailed resources for elderly drivers and has created an Older Driver Program Five-Year Strategic Plan 2012-2017. The goals of this program are to build communications for older drivers and caretakers, create and maintain partnerships to help older driver safety, and to expand driver-licensing procedures.

Additional resources to promote safer senior driving include information on:

• How to talk with older drivers about their driving capabilities • Medications and older drivers • Screening and evaluations • Toolkit for driving safely • Driving when you suffer from a condition that could inhibit safe driving, such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, or a previous stroke

If you have been injured in an accident, contact one of our Massachusetts vehicle accident lawyers for a free consultation.

Source:

Brockton woman, 91, dies following car-train crash in Holbrook, The Patriot Ledger, March 18, 2011
Driver Safety, Senior Driving, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Continue reading

The town of Ashland, Massachusetts voted earlier this month to apply for approval of a quiet zone at its Main and Cherry streets rail crossings. In 2005, a new federal rule was established allowing communities to silence horns as trains pass at-grade crossings. The United States had over 400 of these quiets zones as of September, 2010.

Although 25 Massachusetts towns including Beverly, Weston, and Concord have already established quiet zones around train crossings, the concept is so new that there isn’t much data on the impact of quiet zones on train accident rates. However, some town officials say it has not posed a major safety issue.

A federal study found a dramatic increase in collisions between cars and trains at certain crossings in the early 1990’s, prompting an emergency order that required trains on the Florida railroad to sound their horns. In the more recent case of quiet zones, the area must have a flashing light and automated gate to prevent crashes. Authorities may also mandate additional equipment or traffic configurations on a case by case basis.

Source: Safety vs. silence with train crossings, The MetroWest Daily News, October 17, 2010 Continue reading

Here in Massachusetts, we’ve experienced several train accidents in recent years. Yesterday morning, two trains collided in Halle, Belgium and killed at least 18 people. Authorities estimate that at least 55 others were injured in the train collision, though they add that these numbers are not final. The crash occurred during morning rush hour as passengers traveled to work. Those not injured were transported away from the scene of the crash by bus. The injured were treated at a nearby sports center, according to the Belga news agency.

The train accident has apparently disrupted other parts of the rail network in northern Europe. Eurostar suspended high-speed train service between London and Brussels, and there were delays in northern France close to the Belgian border.

The cause of the accident is unknown. While snow was falling at the time of the train collision, officials say there was not an unusual amount of snow. The crash is believed to be one of the deadliest train accidents in Europe since the 2006 crash in Montenegro killed 41 people.

Source: 18 killed in Belgian train crash, official says, CNN World, February 15, 2010 Continue reading

In Leverett, Massachusetts, authorities are investigating a fatal accident that occurred last Thursday just after 1:20pm. A pedestrian was reportedly hit and killed by an Amtrak Vertmonter train. A spokesperson for Amtrak said the person was trespassing on the tracks.

According to a spokesperson from the University of Massachusetts, the train accident victim was a sophomore political science and philosophy major who was originally from Dax, France.

There were no other injuries. The train was traveling southbound from St. Albans, Vermont, to Washington, DC when the pedestrian accident occurred. It was carrying 63 passengers at the time of the accident and was held on the tracks while the investigation was completed.

UMass student from France killed by Amtrak train, Boston Herald, September 11, 2009
Person struck, killed by train, MyFOXBoston.com, September 10, 2009 Continue reading

A recent Boston subway crash injured 50 people. Fortunately, no one was killed, but the MBTA accident did raise questions about cell phone use among MBTA drivers and train conductors.

However, in Washington, DC last week, a commuter rail accident killed nine people in what officials are calling the worst commuter rail accident in the city’s history. That brings the Metro’s death toll up to 17 people since the Metro opened, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Investigators say emergency brakes were used on the train that rear-ended another train during rush hour on Monday evening. An estimated 75 people were injured in the train accident, which happened on the Red Line between Takoma and Fort Totten Stations. Nine people were killed, among them the operator of the train that collided with another train that was stopped.

The train crash is under investigation, and authorities say they do not know if human error played a role, although it was recommended to the Metro that they replace older trains.

Toll rises to 9 in D.C. rail crash, Baltimore Sun, June 24, 2009
Officials Seek Clues in Train Crash, New York Times, June 23, 2009 Continue reading

On Thursday morning, an Amtrak train traveling from New York City to Boston, Massachusetts hit a car that was stranded on the railroad track. Before the train accident, the car had been hit by another propelling vehicle that pushed it onto the railroad track.

The car was totaled, with debris strewn around the site of the accident. Fortunately, the driver of the stranded car had left the vehicle following the first accident. Neither the driver of the disabled car nor the 278 passengers and crew members on board the train were injured.

According to a local investigating officer, “two of the four railroad tracks were shut down because of the debris from the train versus car crash.” Unmanned train crossings pose a very real danger to drivers and pedestrians. Residents near the scene of the train accident hope that the accident will show railroad authorities the need for preventive gates.

Northbound Amtrak Train Struck Stranded Car on Railroad Track, TopWireNews.com, March 27, 2009 Continue reading

On Sunday afternoon, an Amtrak train running from Boston to Albany derailed in the town of Russell, Massachusetts. Police say the train accident occurred around 3pm.

The train was carrying 109 passengers and five crew members, but fortunately no one was injured. The train’s crew kept the train upright and brought it to a complete stop. According to several passengers, crews said the freezing and un-freezing ice on the track may have caused the train to derail.

Buses arrived to transport the passengers to Albany. Police are investigating the train accident along with Amtrak.

Amtrak train derailed in Western Mass., MSNBC, March 9, 2009 Continue reading

According to a Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit that focuses on rail safety across the country, there were 305 deaths at highway-rail grade crossings nationwide in 2007. Mansfield, Norton, and Foxboro have closet to 20 highway-rail grade crossings and those communities have recently experienced tragic train accidents, so state Rep. Jay Barrwos, of Mansfield, and Rep. Betty Poirier, of North Attleboro, teamed up to sponsor a train safety seminar with Operation Lifesaver.

The seminar was held at the Mansfield Public Library and emphasized the importance of being aware when trains are crossing. Look, listen, live. According to Ed O’Connor, the Massachusetts coordinator for Operation Lifesaver, a freight train rolling over a mid-sized sedan can have the same impact on the sedan that a sedan would have running over a 12-ounce soda can. O’Connor added that drivers and pedestrians should not assume that the train will run according to schedule.

All highway-rail grade crossing have signs on the roadside and pavement, but those signs are often overlooked. “Active” crossings ring a bell, flash lights, and block access with a gate when a train in approaching. Drivers who pass over the train tracks in front of an oncoming train incur a $250 fine, plus get $50 a year added to their driver’s insurance policy.

Legislators push for train safety awareness, WickedLocal.com, January 21, 2009 Continue reading

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