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Septa Train Crashes Lead To Changes In Safety 

Solomon, Sherman & Gabay Septa Injury

If this last year, living under the COVID-19 cloud, has taught us anything, it is to learn from our mistakes. This same premise was evident to Philadelphians in 2017 when the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) saw three major accidents.

In January 2017, two trolleys collided in West Philadelphia, injuring 46 people. The next month, a train crashed into a stopped train approaching the 69th Street center, the operator suffered serious injuries. Then in August, a train smashed into another parked, unoccupied train at the 69th Street Transportation Center, injuring 33 people.

That is 80 injured people in need of a Philadelphia SEPTA injury attorney on their side. Solomon, Sherman & Gabay are always eager to help victims just like these.

Determining the Damage

SEPTA carries over 300 million passengers each year. Most of these trips end safely, but accidents do occasionally occur. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, passengers described the scene from the August 2017 crash as “Super bloody” and “blood everywhere.”

These injuries occurred during a train derailing which can cause severe passenger injuries, but injuries involving SEPTA vehicles can vary widely. Many injuries happen during collisions between SEPTA vehicles and passenger vehicles. Slip and fall injuries are not uncommon because of conditions on SEPTA vehicles, and faulty seats or railings may also cause injuries.

The injures also vary in degrees of severity, including:

  • Joint and ligament damage
  • Sprained, broken, fractured, and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Spinal cord trauma with paralysis
  • Amputations or crush injuries

Repairing the Problem

During SEPTA’s crash crisis, the first step was accounting for and treating the injured passengers and employees. Investigating what went wrong is the second step, and step three involves implementing preventative measures so the issue does not happen in the future.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated and found troubling issues with the rail line’s Positive Train Control (PTC). The PTC system monitors and controls train movements and is designed to prevent collisions, derailments, entering hazardous work zones, and train movements caused by switches left in the wrong position.

Pennsylvanian politicians came together for bipartisan support to dedicate nearly $6 million in federal funding to improve SEPTA’s commuter train lines, including the enhancement of Positive Train Control (PTC) on their lines.

Relief from injuries incurred on a SEPTA vehicle can be hard to find because Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act which allows SEPTA generally immunity from liability for injuries and damages it may cause, but there are exceptions to this immunity. Accident victims can make a claim if their injuries or damages are caused by:

  • Dangerous conditions on SEPTA property
  • Negligent operation of a SEPTA vehicle

Finding Relief

The Sovereign Immunity Act is complex. It is easy to get lost. Anyone injured in a SEPTA vehicle or due to the actions of a SEPTA operator should seek a skilled personal injury attorney in Philadelphia to help untangle the complexities and get real results from their claim, including:

  • Complete coverage of medical bills from the accident
  • Lost income while they recover
  • Out-of-pocket expenses a victim incurs
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages

Solomon, Sherman & Gabay are ready to guide you to the end of the line. Call us for a free consultation at 215-665-1100.