New Jersey conductor files suit against Amtrak over derailment

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015
First lawsuit by Amtrak employee in connection with deadly derailment
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Stacey Sager has more from Jericho.

NEW YORK -- The lawyer for the lead conductor on the Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia last week says his client suffered a broken neck, broken back and other serious injuries.

Emilio Fonseca, of Kearny, New Jersey, has sued Amtrak, claiming negligence and carelessness on the part of the rail carrier. Eight people were killed in the May 12 derailment and more than 200 injured.

Attorney Bruce Nagel said that Fonseca was in the first car of the train at the time of the derailment. He was in a bathroom at the time, which likely saved his life.

Nagel said Fonseca managed to get out of the train and remembers standing in a field, telling people to watch out for electrical wires.

Nagel said Fonseca hasn't spoken with investigators yet, and could be hospitalized for several more weeks.

His attorney said Fonseca's injuries are so severe, he may not be able to work again.

"My client suffered terrible injuries in this accident and we are thankful that Amtrak has taken full responsibility. Our prayers go out to those who did not survive this tragedy," Nagel said.

The Amtrak train from Washington to New York derailed as it passed through Philadelphia. Investigators have said the train was traveling over 100 mph just before it entered a curve where the speed limit is 50 mph.

Four passengers have also filed civil suits against Amtrak, which has said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Their lawsuit says Amtrak did not install the automatic system that could have slowed the train before the crash.

"There was a system available to control it, and it was available on one track going the other way, my word, how could that possibly be right?", said the attorney for one of the plaintiffs, Tom Kline.

(Some information from the Associated Press.)