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Shapiro & Appleton

Amtrak Facing Massive Personal Injury Claims

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Experts say that Amtrak is probably going to be sued for hundreds of millions of dollars in personal injury claims from victims of the recent derailment in Philidelphia. However, Congress capped personal injury payouts for Amtrak in 1997, so the compensation for victims could be limited.

According to the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act, damages paid by the US government to people hurt or killed in Amtrak derailments cannot exceed $200 million per crash. But eight people have died and 200 people were injured in the latest accident, so claims will probably exceed that amount.

One personal injury attorney stated that some people who were injured may need ongoing medical care for many years. So, just one of those claims could easily be for $15 million.

Even though there are statutory limits on damages for Amtrak, experts believe that the company will not escape very expensive liability. The problem is mainly that the train was going 100 MPH when it entered the curve that caused the derailment. Lawyers will argue that the accident was preventable, and that looks very persuasive.

Our personal injury law firm has worked on Amtrak personal injury cases before. One of our clients slipped and fell on the job at Amtrak, and had a serious knee injury. We discovered during litigation that Amtrak likes to cut off the health insurance of the injured worker, claiming that certain paperwork must be filed. But then the person has to locate a doctor to fill out that paperwork, but they don’t have insurance so they can’t see the doctor.

In the end we were able to settle that case satisfactorily for $150,000.

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