Updated on: 10/12/2018
Federal Law Sets Damage Caps For Victims of Passenger Rail Accidents
In order to pay medical bills and other accident-related damages, the more than 70+ injury victims and the families of the six people who were killed in the December 2017 Amtrak Cascades disaster may find themselves fighting legal battles against one another to get their share of potential financial settlements.
According to 49 U.S.C. 28103, the aggregate allowable awards to all rail passengers, against all defendants, for all claims arising from a single accident or incident, shall not exceed $294,278,983.
49 U.S.C. 28103 - LIMITATIONS ON RAIL PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION LIABILITY
This cap was established in 1997 in order to help the financially-struggling Amtrak train service. Congress passed a law setting a $200 million overall liability cap for passenger rail accidents (not just Amtrak’s). But in December 2015 the cap was raised to $294,278,983 to account for inflation.
The cap has no exceptions, so it applies to claims against the railroad no matter how horrific the crash, how reckless the rail company or how many people are killed or injured. The cap only applies to occupants of the train, not rail workers or people on the highway who might have been injured.
This notice details the inflation adjustment made to the rail passenger transportation liability cap under section 11415 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (December 7, 2015). As a result of the FAST Act, the rail passenger transportation liability cap is raised from $200,000,000 to $294,278,983.
For more detailed information about the disaster, read AMTRAK CASCADES DERAILMENT DISASTER: A Legal Guide For Accident Victims/Survivors by the Amtrak train accident attorney team at Davis Law Group.