Amtrak Derailment Injury Claim Information

Amtrak Derailment Injury Claim

Amtrak Derailment Claims the life of 3 and Injures 90 in Dupont

In the coming days the people devastated by this tragedy are going to be looking for information on how to cope financially with medical expenses, lost wages, and altered lives. Amtrak derailment injury claim information on this website will help victims of the Amtrak derailment get the resources they need to help them through this ordeal. 

Amtrak Train Traveling 50mph over Speed Limit

The train's data recorder was recovered on Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The data confirmed what eye witness accounts had already claim. The train was traveling at 80mph just before it derailed from the track. The speed limit for the area where it derailed was 30mph. According to Sound Transit, the tracks in that area were equipped with Positive Train Control. That safety system however, requires both the tracks and the train have it installed. This train apparently did not have Positive Train Control installed. 

Amtrak Cascade Derailed on its First Day of Operation

After almost 2 decades of planing and 800 million of train and infrastructure improvements, the Washington Department of Transportation was excited to launch this new service between Seattle and Portland. The new route was shorter than the previous route and would save travelers 10 minutes on the trip. Instead, at least three people died, the Washington State Patrol confirmed late Monday. Many others were injured as 13 of the 14 Amtrak passenger cars leaped from the tracks. One car and a locomotive fell onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, closing the highway for the foreseeable future.

What is Amtrak Cascade?

Amtrak Cascade is a rail service with trains and engines owned and managed by Oregon and Washington state and operated by Amtrak. The line runs from Eugene to Vancouver, British Columbia. It is primarily funded by ticket revenues and the two states. In 2016, about 867,000 people rode Amtrak Cascades, according to WSDOT. The Seattle to Portland route was the most used route.

Amtrak Derailment Investigation

A “go team” from the National Transportation Safety Bureau is on the scene. They’ll lead the investigation. They’ll likely issue a final report in the coming weeks.

WSDOT traffic cameras that may have captured the derailment were not recording at the time, agency officials told OPB.

The maximum speed around the curve where the train derailed is 30 miles per hour, according to Kimberly Reason, a spokesman for Sound Transit, which owns the section of track.

The maximum speed the Amtrak Cascades trains can travel is 79 miles per hour, she said. Speed signs are posted just before an approaching curve and two miles before a speed zone change, her email stated.

However, the train did have positive train control, which is a device that automatically slows trains down for safety if needed. That device was not engaged before the crash, according to Amtrak officials.

The derailed train was, according to a preliminary investigation, going 80 mph before it came off the tracks, the NTSB said.

Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the crash may lead Congress to demand additional safety provisions.

“When we get to the bottom of this, we’ll see what needs to be rectified,” said DeFazio, adding that Amtrak is “still one of the safest modes of travel considering the number of people we move.”

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Amtrak Derailment Injury Claim For Victims May be Limited 

There will certainly be lawsuits against Amtrak following Monday's derailment, which killed three people and injured dozens more. The commuter train was traveling at 80 mph on a 30-mph stretch of track, according to investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Ordinarily, it’s difficult to forecast the total money damages for one person in any injury case. Each case requires complex calculations incorporating medical bills, future care, and valuations of past and future pain and loss of ability. In the case of a mass accident with multiple deaths and life-changing injuries, it’s even more difficult.

In the case of a train derailment like this, however, the math has been simplified by statute. It’s worth no more than $200 million. Total. For everyone.

The 1997 Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act sets a $200 million maximum limit for the “allowable awards to all rail passengers, against all defendants, for all claims, including claims for punitive damages, arising from a single accident." That means that no matter how many are killed, no matter how many are injured, and no matter how serious the injuries are, the maximum dollar amount all the plaintiffs combined can recover from all the defendants combined is $200 million.

While that's a lot of money, it can be insufficient in the case of derailments, according to judges who call the process of taking from one victim and giving to another a “Sophie’s Choice” decision on a mass scale.

The 2008 Metrolink crash near Chatsworth, California, left 24 dead and more than 100 injured. The judge tasked with allocating the $200 million among the victims estimated that the total value of the crash was potentially greater than $350 million, had each individual case gone to trial.

Congress passes legislation like this in order to protect particular industries. Critics say these laws shield an industry from accountability, fail to realistically forecast damages and ignore the reality of inflation. There is historical evidence that judges, presidents and even Congress all agree with the law’s critics.

In May 2015, Amtrak Train 188 derailed in Philadelphia after traveling in excess of 100 mph on a track area with a 50-mph speed limit. Eight passengers died and others were seriously injured. All their claims combined were subject to the $200 million damages cap.

Less than six months later, President Barack Obama signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”), which increased the maximum award to $295 million, but only for this specific Amtrak derailment. The accident-specific increase could be interpreted as a legislative acknowledgment of the inadequacy of the 1997 law.

Yet, that $200 million cap remains in place for Monday’s derailment. That is, unless Congress introduces another law to temporarily increase the maximum limit, to avoid the cap … set by Congress itself.

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Amtrak Derailment Injury Claim Resources

Amtrak Derailment Injury Claim Information Call 253-573-1700.

Victims have been taken to several area hospitals. Family of victims can call a hotline set-up b Amtrak for information on the victims where abouts. 1-800-523-9101. The Amtrack Family Assitance Center is now open at the Courtyard Marriot in Tacoma.

The Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2008 requires the NTSB to coordinate the disaster response resources of federal, state, local, and volunteer agencies following a major rail passenger accident involving Amtrak. 

Optum Health Emotional Help Hotline open 24 hours a day to help those impacted cope with the trauma. 1-866-342-6892.

For Amtrak Derailment injury claim legal help and advice, please contact the Tacoma attorneys at Sadler Ladenburg. 253-573-1700.

If you have been injured in an Amtrak derailment it is important to speak to attorney right away to understand your rights and options. Our Amtrak injury attorneys at Sadler Ladenburg are available to answer your questions during a free consultation. You may be wondering:

          Question: Do I have an Amtrak derailment injury claim?

          Question: Who pays for my medical treatment after an Amtrak derailment?

          Question: What do I have to do to file a claim against Amtrak?

          Question: How long do I have to file a claim against Amtrak?

          Question: How are victims of an Amtrak derailment compensated?

          Question: What damages can I recover from an Amtrak derailment?

          Question: Who do I sue for an Amtrak derailment injury?

          Question: I lost my spouse in an Amtrak derailment, what do I do now?

If you need the answers to these or other questions, you should call Sadler Ladenburg to speak with an experienced Amtrak accident attorney who understands the details that can impact a personal injury claim stemming from a Amtrak train derailment. We serve people injured by Amtrak derailments in Tacoma, Seattle, Olympia, and all of Washington State. Call 253-573-1700 today to speak to an attorney.
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