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NTSB says Amtrak crash could have been avoided

New York residents may be interested in statements made by the National Transportation Safety Board regarding an Amtrak train crash that happened on Feb. 4. Investigators said that brakes were applied just seconds before the passenger train crashed into a parked CSX train in South Carolina. An incorrectly set switch caused the crash, which killed two crew members and injured more than 100 passengers.

According to sources, it was not known how crew members noticed that the train was heading toward a parked CSX train in the early morning hours. Information about the incident was obtained from event recorders that were recovered at the crash site. A signal system was in the process of being upgraded and was inoperative at the time of the crash. The upgrade of the system was to prepare for installation of positive train control, an automatic braking system. NTSB says that this type of system could have prevented the crash.

The actual cause of the crash was determined to be a switch that was set incorrectly to divert the train off the main line. NTSB called this "human error" and said that the switch setting was the responsibility of CSX.

When someone is injured in a train crash or other mass transit accident, they could be entitled to compensation. In cities like New York, getting compensation may involve filing a claim against the municipality. While this can seem intimidating, it is an injured person's right, and it is possible to win damages. There are, however, different rules and time limits for bringing suit against a municipality, and the entire process may be more complex than suing a private individual or company.

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