Who Owned the Train That Derailed in Ohio?
Who Owned the Train That Derailed in Ohio?
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Who Owned the Train That Derailed in Ohio?
In January 2023, a disaster struck a small town in eastern Ohio. A large freight train derailed while traveling through East Palestine, causing an environmental incident because the train was carrying several cars of hazardous materials.
As news of the incident spread, people began trying to determine who was at fault. Blame was passed around, and seemingly everyone had a different opinion about who was responsible.
At every level of government, there were attempts to determine who should be held accountable for the train derailment and what could be done to prevent similar accidents in the future. Congress held hearings to investigate, inviting experts in various industries as well as the owners of the train itself.
Who are those owners? As it turns out, the train was owned by a company called Norfolk Southern, which runs thousands of miles of track throughout the country. So far, that company is taking the lion’s share of the blame for the incident, both the derailment and the damage done afterward due to a haphazard response.
If you’ve been harmed by the Ohio train derailment in any way, knowing the name of the train company is very important to you. That’s because the company may owe you compensation for any injuries, hardship, or pain and suffering you’ve incurred as a result.
Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free case consultation and learn more about your options.
Norfolk Southern Railway
The Norfolk Southern Railway is one of the largest rail companies in the country. It operates nearly 20,000 miles of routes throughout the eastern half of the U.S., along with another roughly 10,000 miles of track that are used by other railroads.
The company, which was formed in 1982, is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and is worth more than $50 billion. It employs roughly 20,000 employees that run a fleet of nearly 4,000 locomotives.
Why This Matters to You
If you’ve been impacted by the Ohio train derailment, Norfolk Southern Railway's net worth is the most important number for you to know. The fact that the company is valued at over $50 billion means they have more than enough money to compensate you for any harm you’ve suffered from this incident.
Are Norfolk Southern Train Derailments Common?
Train derailments are surprisingly common in the U.S.
There are multiple incidents every day of the year. But the majority of these occur at train depots while the trains are switching tracks at very low speeds. Consequently, they rarely harm anyone, and there’s typically plenty of maintenance personnel around to quickly correct the problem.
More significant derailments, like the one in eastern Ohio in January, are much less common—at least, they used to be. Within two months of the Ohio incident, two other Norfolk Southern trains had derailed. Neither caused an environmental accident, but the timing of the incidents stands out.
Whether Norfolk Southern trains regularly derail will soon be a major point of contention, both in the congressional hearings and in any lawsuits brought against the company. The company will try to claim that this incident was unforeseeable and that it normally runs trains without issue.
These incidents will make it harder for Norfolk Southern to prove that point. It will be even more difficult to make that claim if even more trains derail in the future.
Additionally, the testimony of employees and others in the rail industry has conflicted with the claim that Norfolk Southern runs a safe operation. Multiple people have stated that the tracks and trains in question were in various states of disrepair due to poor maintenance.
There have also been claims that the company ignored safety warnings and the professional opinion of an experienced employee shortly before the accident occurred. If this proves true, it will be easy for lawyers to prove that Norfolk Southern is responsible for the harm resulting from this incident.
How You May Have Been Harmed by the Ohio Train Derailment
You’re most likely to have been harmed by the Ohio train derailment if you live in East Palestine, the town where the incident occurred. Residents were evacuated for two days in the aftermath, costing them significant time and money.
But even after returning, many residents continued to face financial hardship. Some businesses remained closed following the accident, while others have faced disruptions due to the ongoing restoration process for the railway.
People who live and work in the area continue to face complications months later. And some people have lost their jobs as a result of the accident.
There’s also the problem of the train company’s response. Because many of the derailed cars contained hazardous materials, the company needed to clean up the area quickly.
For reasons that aren’t yet fully clear, it chose to release and burn the hazardous material, worsening what was already an ecological disaster. The smoke from the fire spread the chemicals throughout the area, allowing them to escape into the air and fall to the ground as ashes.
Norfolk Southern claims this action was safe for people living in the area, but evidence suggests this isn’t true. Many East Palestine residents have since experienced unexplained headaches, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. These are all signs of water and air contamination by hazardous chemicals.
If you live near East Palestine and are suffering from mysterious health problems, speak with a Morgan and Morgan attorney immediately. Our law firm has devoted several lawyers to this unfolding case so we can help the people involved recover as swiftly as possible.
As time passes, the harm caused by this incident continues to grow. Already, at least one major water bottling business has had to halt operations due to water contamination. More problems of this nature will likely arise as the complications reverberate throughout the area.
Ohio isn’t the only state affected by this accident. The Pennsylvania state senate is also holding hearings about the Ohio train derailment because residents in that state have reported experiencing harm.
Even if you haven’t fallen ill as of today, you should remember the names Norfolk Southern and Morgan & Morgan. The latter will be important if you decide to take legal action against the former.
We’ve situated our nationwide law firm as a leader on this incident and expect to be handling Norfolk Southern cases for years, if not decades.
What to Expect if You Were Harmed by the Train Derailment
The first thing you should expect is to see the name Norfolk Southern making headlines for years to come. This is a good thing, as it means that more evidence should turn up indicating that the company is liable for damages.
This evidence is crucial, seeing as the tidal wave of lawsuits is only just beginning to swell, and most will take years to resolve. With that in mind, it’s important to be patient and understand that it might be a while before you receive any meaningful compensation.
For now, the most important thing you can do is consult with an attorney from Morgan and Morgan. One of our experienced lawyers will give you a free case evaluation and explain your options. They’ll also give you a rough outline of the timeline for your case.
After that, all you have to do is wait. We’ll provide regular updates and may give you new options as the case unfolds.
This process could end relatively quickly with a fair settlement for some and take decades for others. It just depends on the factors for individual cases.
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Are Any Other Train Companies Responsible for This Train Derailment?
At this time, no other train company has been identified as being partially responsible for the accident. Train companies often share tracks or safety responsibilities, but so far, only Norfolk Southern seems to be involved with this particular incident. That may change as investigations continue.
I Heard Norfolk Southern is Offering Money to People Who Were Forced to Evacuate—Should I Take It?
Make it a point to consult an experienced attorney before accepting any money from Norfolk Southern. There may be funds you can freely accept with no consequences, but ordinarily, taking money limits your ability to demand additional compensation.
The train company isn’t currently offering much money, so it might be better to wait.
Is It Safe to Drink the Water and Breathe the Air in East Palestine?
Many people are trying to answer this question right now. Sadly, no one is certain, and there have been many conflicting answers from various sources. For now, if you’re able to purchase bottled water and wear an air-filtering mask, doing so would probably be the safest course of action.
Trust the Law Firm Known for Protecting Our Clients’ Rights
You have the right to live in an area with air and water free of toxic contaminants. Unfortunately, East Palestine doesn’t appear to be one of those places at present.
Morgan & Morgan is dedicated to helping people like you breathe freely and drink safely.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.