Potters bar train crash inquest - a guilty plea
- AuthorKate Sweeney
The recent announcement that Network Rail is to plead guilty to breaching health and safety regulations in the lead up to the 2002 Potters Bar train crash has been in the headlines, and may finally lead to an end to the long-running saga of blame and counter-blame in this tragic case.
Seven people were killed in the incident, six passengers who were on board the train and a pedestrian who was killed by falling masonry. The train was travelling at 97 miles per hour when it left the track, as a result of faulty adjustable stretcher bars. The bars had been inspected just before the accident, but nothing untoward was found.
Fatal accidents on the railway network
In this instance, poor maintenance and inadequate inspection procedures were the most important causes of the crash, but there are other factors which can affect the safety of rail passengers.
Derailments can be caused by weather conditions, faulty signalling or driver error, and outside influences such as motorists using level crossings dangerously, or people deliberately leaving obstacles on the track.
For commuters, there are also non fatal accidents which can pose a risk, such as slips and trips on board a train or on a platform as a result of spillages or poorly maintained flooring. There are occasionally incidents of passengers being hit by falling objects, such as suitcases placed on badly maintained shelving and racks, or injuries caused by defective fittings such as sliding windows and door handles.
However, when fatalities are involved, the ensuing claim becomes far more complex and normally revolves around an inquest, such as in the Potters Bar case. In these instances, it is imperative to consult a legal adviser who deals with inquest related cases on a regular basis as there are very specific protocols to follow.
The personal injury solicitors at Stephensons are experienced in handling claims involving fatalities and inquests. Talk to us in confidence; our lawyers are sympathetic yet renowned for getting results and bringing justice to the families of those who have lost their lives due to someone else’s negligence.
By personal injury solicitor, Kate Sweeney