An Amtrak train derailed from a recently renovated track on December 18th of 2017, leaving at least six dead and dozens more wounded. The shocking scene caused the 132-ton train to crash into the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, which is the busiest travel corridor in the northwest United States.
The train was carrying 77 passengers as well as crew members when thirteen of the train’s fourteen cars jumped the track and led to at least 75 injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board quickly announced that a team is being sent to investigate the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured or lost their life in the Amtrak derailment, it is imperative that you protect your legal rights by talking to an Amtrak accident attorney in Washington state.
Here are the facts to know about Amtrak liability when trains derail and cause significant injuries and casualties.
Amtrak’s Liability Is Capped Under Federal Law
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Amtrak’s liability cap is $294.3 million. Given the significant harms and casualties involved, it is fair to wonder whether Amtrak’s liability cap will be enough to compensate all the victims of the recent rain derailment along Interstate 5.
Even in 2015, experts worried that a cap of $295 million was insufficient to properly compensate the victims of large-scale train and rail accidents. In a 2015 New York Times article, a spokesman for the American Association for Justice openly worried that the cap is not nearly enough to compensate for medical expenses and similar costs in the aftermath of a large Amtrak accident.
Amtrak Is Considered a "Common Carrier"
Under federal law, Amtrak is a common carrier, which refers to entities that carry passengers and cargo to their destination for an established fee prior to embarking.
Federal law dictates that common carriers are held to a standard of absolute liability. Effectively, this means that any harm to cargo or accidental injury/death to a passenger will require compensation from Amtrak. In short, you will be compensated for your injuries or the loss of a loved one who was harmed by the Tacoma train derailment.
The question, then, is how much will you and your loved ones receive in compensation, given the cap placed on Amtrak’s liability. These facts paired together demonstrate the need for a Washington State Amtrak accident lawyer who will help you receive the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
Talk to the Ledger Law Firm Today
At The Ledger Law Firm, we understand how liability caps are applied in federal court, and we will use this experience to benefit your legal claim. Do not accept an unfair settlement offer without talking to our team of Amtrak accident attorneys first.
We will build a strong case on your behalf that makes sure you receive the compensation you truly deserve, not a lesser amount that is inadequate for taking care of medical expenses or compensating you for the loss of a loved one.
Contact us online today for a legal consultation to discuss your case with a caring and dedicated Amtrak accident attorney.