Attorneys for Train Accident Passengers in Philadelphia and Nationwide

Jim McEldrew represents injury victims and their families in train derailments, railroad crossing accidents, and other transportation accidents.

Train Accident Lawyers

Although train travel is relatively safe compared to travel by cars and buses, when train accidents do happen they stand a good chance of having catastrophic consequences. The majority of accidents involve rail-highway crossing incidents, which are especially common in areas with a good amount of freight traffic such as Pennsylvania — not coincidentally, the state rounds out the top 10 for such crashes.

Every year, close to 1,000 are killed in train-related accidents, and thousands more are injured. In addition, train accidents involving hazardous materials occur every two weeks on average in the U.S. — causing chemical spills, fires, even evacuations of whole towns. Due to outdated technologies and negligence, every 1.5 hours a train somewhere in the U.S. has a collision or derailment.

Train derailments and other railroad injuries involving multiple passengers and railroad workers encompass complex issues of federal preemption, tort law and medical damages. The train accident lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt are uniquely suited to guiding railroad workers and train passengers’ wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits because of our railroad and medical injury practices and extensive history of knowledgeable representation.

Our railroad accident attorneys have handled cases in both the Philadelphia and Hoboken train accidents.  Call 1-800-590-4116 for a free consultation today.

In the Press

A Leading Voice on Train Safety

Lead partner Jim McEldrew is a Past President of the Rail Labor Attorneys and Past President of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association. He has helped hundreds seek compensation for injuries involving Amtrak, SEPTA, NJ Transit and other railroads in the United States, and has fought for train safety reform — pushing for the adoption of Positive Train Control (PTC) after the 2015 Amtrak Northeast Regional derailment, which could have been prevented had this important reform been adopted sooner.

Jim was interviewed by Gretchen Carlson on Fox News’ The Real Story on May 18, 2015 about the implications of the foreign object on the Philadelphia Amtrak train crash and the potential for the railroad engineer to be confused as to his geographical position on the tracks.

Positive Train Control in the Northeast Corridor might have prevented this accident from happening.  Congress has required the railroads to implement it by the end of this year but there is a movement to push the deadline back for another five years.

McEldrew was interviewed by Fox News after both the 2015 Philadelphia Amtrak and 2016 Hoboken NJ Transit train accidents because of his expertise in railroad litigation, and has written on PTC for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was also quoted by The American Lawyer editor-in-chief Gina Passarella in her influential critique of the $200 million cap on damages for train accidents in the wake of the 2015 Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment; this limit has since been revised upward to $295 million.

Jim is quoted by Gina Passarella on the $200 million damage cap imposed on a single railroad accident by the Amtrak Reform and and Accountability Act of 1997.  Almost 20 years old, it hasn’t been adjusted for inflation yet.

McEldrew has personally fought to have state agencies such as NJ Transit assume responsibility for central roles in train accidents, despite their protection under law. His advocacy has also championed railroad workers — McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt has even hosted holiday parties for rail workers.

What Causes Train Accidents?

Many train-car collisions come about due to a basic misunderstanding of physics, with vehicles attempting to unsafely make their way across railway crossings — not knowing that it will take a 150-car freight train going at 50 miles per hour over a mile to stop!

Other times, train accidents come down to driver and equipment error. The implementation of PTC, the remote tracking and control system that has made train travel safer for rail lines in Europe and Japan, has been delayed since the National Transportation Safety Board first advised feasibility studies on the subject in 1970. Unfortunately, such improvements seem to be held back from U.S. railroads due to the costs involved.

The most common causes of train accidents include: 

  • Equipment failure: The big worry is for malfunctioning brakes, but communication system errors can be just as damaging.
  • Conductor negligence: Conductor distraction also accounts for a big chunk of the accident puzzle — one that would be eliminated by the adoption of PTC.
  • Poorly marked or malfunctioning crossings: According to some estimates, inadequately marked crossings are the sites for nearly half of nighttime train-car collisions. The Federal Railroad Administration says that 80 percent of railroad crossings don’t have adequate warning devices.
  • Improper maintenance of train tracks: This is the most frequent cause of train derailment, the most catastrophic of all train accidents. 

The Types of Cases We Take On

Our practice area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York is in the middle of the busiest rail line in the U.S., the Northeast Corridor, which sees 2,200 trains and 750,000 passengers per day. In addition, Philadelphia is home to SEPTA, the 5th-largest U.S. transit system, which sees 300 million passengers per year. 

Cases we have successfully litigated in the past include:

  • Derailments
  • Train-train collisions
  • Train-car collisions
  • Train-person collisions
  • Damage to property
  • On-the-job accidents

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Consult with an Experienced Train Accident Attorney

At McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, we have over 30 years of experience in litigating train accident cases. We take all train accident injury claims on a contingency basis, and will only charge you attorney fees if we are able to obtain financial compensation for your losses. 

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt welcomes clients from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania communities near and far. To schedule a meeting for a free consultation, fill out our form or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116.

For a Free Initial Legal Consultation:
Call 1-800-590-4116

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