Stark & Stark Shareholder Bruce H. Stern, member of the Accident & Personal Injury Group, authored the Railroads: Accountability Equals Safety, which was published on NJ.com on December 17, 2015.
The article details the recent Amtrak accident in Philadelphia, in which a train derailed and killed 8 people and injured over 200. Unfortunately for the victims and their families, they will have to deal with an additional hurdle. There is an obscure law from 1997 that established that “passenger railroads cannot be held responsible beyond $200 million for a crash, no matter how many people were injured or killed, and no matter if the railroad’s fault is clear.”
While $200 million might seem to be a significant sum for one person, for this many victims with various medical bills or long-term care expenses, the total will rack up very quickly. As Mr. Stern added, “Amtrak itself has acknowledged these total costs could exceed $200 million.”
The silver lining in this situation is that the U.S. Congress is currently in the process of negotiating a bill for the continued funding of the nation’s transportation system. One of the provisions includes the opportunity to raise the cap on liability to $295 million, and apply it retroactively. This would mean that the people injured and killed in the Amtrak derailment would still be included.
To read the full article, please click here.