Does Amtrak Have a Crash Liability Limit?

By Peter DePaolis

Updating a blog post we brought you recently, reports indicate that Amtrak has a $200 million liability cap limit for crash victims involved in the Philadelphia derailment that killed eight passengers and injured more than 200 others earlier this year. Photo of gavel

The train was traveling from D.C. to New York City when it left the tracks—it was reportedly going at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour when the derailment occurred. CBS News reported that Congress set a cap limit for Amtrak crash victims in 1997, and many people believe it is now too low. When the liability cap was set, Amtrak was facing bankruptcy and Congress was attempting to come up with ways to help the rail line without providing government subsidies.

Many advocates say that the liability limit will probably reach its ceiling due to the number of claims expected to be filed involving this crash. Interestingly, the cap only applies to Amtrak passengers and not employees.

“I don’t think Amtrak has ever faced a situation like this,” one locomotive expert told CBS News, saying that liability cap will raise serious questions about how the company will pay victims.

An Attorney Can Help a Train Derailment Victim

It is unfortunate that there is a cap in this situation, as many victims are going to need long-term health care. Although this is alarming, it should not discourage victims from seeking damages if they were injured or lost a loved one. Members of Congress has discussed doing something about the cap in this case, if it is proven to be inadequate.

By speaking to our D.C. injury attorneys, clients can rest assured knowing that any settlement offer they receive or damages they obtain through a lawsuit are the maximum allowed.

Many train accidents occur due to human error or mechanical failure. If you have suffered because of a locomotive accident, an attorney can find out if negligence played a role in the incident, while holding the parties responsible for your injuries liable.

Our firm has more than 30 years of experience working on behalf of those injured in transportation accidents in Washington, DC. You can reach us by clicking on the live chat option at the top of this page.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Washington, D.C. Injury Attorneys


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.