As the investigation into the Tacoma Amtrak accident unfolds, more details are being revealed. One such detail is that Amtrak Cascades 501 — the train that derailed, crashed and hurt more than 100 people — was significantly speeding when it rounded a curve.
Although the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation is still ongoing, it has already been revealed that the train was speeding 50 miles over the limit.
Questions Abound Regarding Whether the Crash Could Have Been Avoided
The high-speed accident occurred with the train ultimately traveling at 80 mph in a 30-mph zone, which led to 13 cars jumping the tracks. Also of note is the fact that positive train control (PTC) — a technology that slows down and stops a speeding train automatically — was not activated on Amtrak Cascades 501.
PTC is an innovation that the Federal Railroad Administration has already hailed as the “single-most important rail safety development” in more than 100 years. Sadly, although PTC tech had been installed on parts of the track where Cascades 501 derailed and jumped the track, the PTC tech was not yet operational in nature.
While PTC is known to prevent accidents like this when a train speeds, it is unclear whether PTC could have prevented this specific crash.
Can Amtrak Be Sued for the Tacoma Accident?
Amtrak is defined as a common carrier that has absolute liability for harms resulting to cargo and passengers. As such, the victims of the Tacoma Amtrak accident are entitled to compensation under federal law.
However, the U.S. Department of Transportation caps Amtrak’s liability for accidents at approximately $295 million. Given that Amtrak reached a $265 million settlement over a similarly deadly Philadelphia crash in 2016, the compensation paid out by Amtrak in this case will doubtlessly approach or even exceed this settlement figure.
As such, perhaps the better question is whether the cap is too low to substantially compensate the Tacoma accident victims. The bottom line is you deserve compensation if you or a loved one were harmed in the Tacoma Amtrak accident, but federal liability caps limit the amount victims can collectively receive.
This limitation demonstrates why Amtrak accident victims need a Washington State Amtrak accident lawyer who will help you receive the maximum compensation you need in light of the existing cap on Amtrak’s liability.
Talk to the Ledger Law Firm Today
As the facts of the Amtrak accident continue to be unveiled, it is clear that victims need the representation of an Amtrak accident lawyer who understands how federal liability caps will be applied in court.
The Ledger Law Firm uses our experience to protect your legal claim and ensure you receive a fair settlement offer that properly compensates you for your injuries.
Contact us online today for a legal consultation to make sure you have the funds you need for medical expenses or to properly compensate you for the irreplaceable loss of a loved one.