Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Patrick Bailey Warns: An Increase in Hazardous Freight may Lead to More Catastrophic Injury Lawsuits in the United States

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As a personal injury lawyer who handles complex catastrophic injury cases, Patrick Bailey sees the increase in hazardous freight as a threat to public safety and he is not alone in his concerns. Recently the National Transportation Safety Board issued recommendations for more stringent safety requirements regarding dangerous freight.

I am glad to see the NTSB making recommendations but action is needed before it's too late

Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Patrick Bailey is concerned about the increase in hazardous freight being transported across the nation's aging rail system. The law firm he founded 25 years ago, Bailey & Partners, handles a wide range of personal injury cases but has a particular focus on aviation law, mass transit accidents and other complex areas of civil litigation. Because of this focus, Bailey is compelled to comment on what he sees as a major threat to public safety. He says his concerns about train safety were reaffirmed after the publication of a recent article in the New York Times.

On January 25, 2014, New York Times reporters Clifford Krauss and Jad Mouawad's "Accidents Surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train" revealed that, over the last five years, the amount of oil being shipped as rail freight has increased substantially. Bailey says "with more flammable and otherwise toxic material being shipped by train than ever before, a massive catastrophe in the United States is bound to occur. Aging railways and more dangerous freight is a potential powder keg."

Bailey's concerns are supported by the facts included in the article: In 2008, 9, 500 train loads of crude oil traveled across the nation's railways. By 2013, the number was 400, 000 train loads of crude. The ability to capture shale oil in Canada and the United States has lead to the increase and a boom in certain sectors of the energy industry. But, Bailey says, "people transporting the oil, people living near the railways and all of us sharing the environment may be at risk by this increase in oil freight. If someone is injured as a result of poor oversight or a family has lost a loved one because safety was not a priority for the shipping company or other responsible parties, the attorneys and investigators at Bailey & Partners are prepared to find the truth and seek justice. "

He continues by saying, "we have nineteenth-century technology coordinated by twenty-first century computers regulated by twentieth-century standards. Our technology allows us to co-ordinate massive amounts of freight but this does not mean the infrastructure and regulations are up to the task."

In fact, Bailey says, the National Transportation Safety Board has recently recommended higher standards regarding dangerous freight. He refers to an NTSB press release published on January 23, 2014. In it the Board expresses concern "that major loss of life, property damage and environmental consequences can occur when large volumes of crude oil or other flammable liquids are transported on a single train involved in an accident, as seen in the Lac Megantic, Quebec, accident, as well as several accidents the NTSB has investigated in the U.S." Last year, 47 people were killed when a train loaded with shale oil derailed while it passed through the city's downtown. Multiple media reports, including National Public Radio's "Lac-Megantic Blast Leaves Impact on Town, Rail Industry" published on October 14, 2013, have detailed the aftermath of the catastrophe.

"Yes that crash occurred in Canada but could have happened in the United States just as easily," Bailey argues. "The train cars, the condition of the rails, the amount of staff on-hand, using the routes that are the least populated, having the ability to respond to disasters...the list goes on and on for the many details that require intensive review. If a major train derailment catastrophe does occur, Bailey & Partners can hold responsible parties accountable and pursue compensation for victims. But if such a catastrophe can be prevented, officials should be proactive. I am glad to see the NTSB making recommendations but action is needed before it's too late."

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