There is a law on the books that limits the amount of damages a victim can receive from any train accident. This damage cap is set at $200 million. You may be thinking, “Wow, that is a lot of money.” You’d be right, but keep in mind this cap applies to any accident regardless of the number of victims.
Take, for example, the Metrolink train crash that occurred in 2008. This awful wreck killed 25 people and seriously injured over 100 people. All of these victims and their families must figure out a way to divide $200 million between them. This will be extremely difficult since some victims have permanent, life-altering injuries and the families who lost a loved one deserve to be properly compensated.
“The current cap will not even meet the medical needs of the survivors of one of the worst passenger train accidents in modern history,” said Congressman Elton Gallegly.
Suddenly, a $200 million cap doesn’t look so generous.
That’s why Congressman Gallegly introduced a bill that would raise the damage cap from $200 million to $500 million, according to the Washington Examiner. The bill would be retroactive, which means the victims of the Metrolink train crash would get access to the additional funds.
No one can say for sure whether or not the bill will actually pass. Metrolink already filed paperwork to accept the $200 million in liability (probably because they realized this figure was a bargain compared to challenging multiple personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits).
I support the raising of the cap, but in an ideal world, we would not have any cap on damages. These damage caps serve no purpose other than to deprive victims of compensation after they’ve been seriously injured. We’ve seen this in the health care sector. Numerous states have imposed strict medical malpractice damage caps, yet insurance rates continue to skyrocket every year.
We need to return to the fundamental philosophy of our legal system – if you do something wrong, you should properly compensate the victim.