Family of Amtrak Worker Killed in April Crash Files Suit

"We can't bring back Joe Carter," said the family's attorney. "What we can do is have Joe Carter's death serve as an impetus for change."


Joseph Neal Carter Jr. (right) with his children. Carter was killed in an April Amtrak crash when a train struck the equipment he and another victim were using to perform work on the tracks.

On April 3, 2016, Amtrak train an struck and killed 40-year Amtrak veteran Joseph Neal Carter, Jr., who was working on the tracks. In a press conference this morning, attorneys Tom Kline from Kline & Specter, P.C. and Robert Mongeluzzi from Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. announced that they have filed a civil action in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas court on behalf of Carter’s family.

Train 89, which was traveling from New York to Savannah, Georgia, crashed in Chester when, at around 8 a.m., it ran into the backhoe that Carter was operating. A number of passengers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. In addition to Carter, another worker, Peter John Adamovich, was killed. His family has obtained legal representation elsewhere, according to Kline. 

Carter, who was 61, was working overtime on the Sunday that he was killed. According to the attorneys, he was well-respected by his peers for his work ethic and love of his job.

“We can’t bring back Joe Carter,” said Kline. “What we can do is have Joe Carter’s death serve as an impetus for change and an impetus for safety for the workers.”

The suit alleges a systemic failure on the part of Amtrak. It claims that Carter was not properly alerted that a train was coming toward him, that the engineer was not properly alerted that there was work on the tracks ahead, and that the tracks should have been closed to begin with.

“How long will it be until Amtrak wakes up and realizes that safety starts at the top and that safety affects both employees and passengers,” said Mongeluzzi. “The Carter family has asked [us] to make two things happen: to find out what happened to their dad, and to make sure that this never happens again.”

The suit is seeking $50,000 in damages for the family. Additionally, they hope to learn more about the safety procedures in place in the Northeast Corridor, which Amtrak owns.

“We have an opportunity as civil trial lawyers … we believe that we are in a unique position with our experience to be able to investigate and provide answers that will ultimately advance public safety,” said Kline.

Mongeluzzi and Kline also represent victims of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment last year.

A spokesperson from Amtrak said that they do not comment on pending litigation.