With over two-hundred people injured and eight people dead, the aftermath of the Amtrak derailment is considerable. Like most of us, you are probably thinking that Amtrak will be facing a sizable restitution bill to the victims, their families, and to the City of Philadelphia. But because of a cap on Amtrak’s legal liability, compensation to those affected will most likely not be adequate.
Amtrak’s liability is capped at 200 Million dollars-per-crash. The company is federally subsidized, meaning the federal government covers the company’s losses, so the cap was put in place to save taxpayer dollars. Amtrak is not the only company with a liability cap – most railroad companies in the US employ damage caps. Lawmakers have attempted to raise the cap to $500 Million but efforts have yet to be successful.
Two-hundred million dollars may sound like a large sum of money, and by all accounts it certainly is, but many of the deceased left behind young families and high earning jobs. Those families will have to go on now, not only without the love and companionship of their family member, but also without their earning power. In these cases, the courts award pecuniary damages for lost and future wages. For example, Rachel Jacobs was a 39-year-old CEO of a Philly tech start-up and mother of a two-year-old. She could have spent over 20 more years working at a high paying position in a rapidly growing industry. It is possible that had Ms. Jacobs survived, she alone would surpass the $200 Million dollar mark in just her own earnings.
The claims of survivors can be even more costly, considering that some may have to go through life receiving constant medical care for traumatic brain injuries or amputated limbs. Hopefully, each and every victim can be fairly compensated to a point that their lives are able to move forward somewhat normally, after the wreckage has finally cleared.
Philadelphia personal injury attorneys and staff of Messa & Associates express our deepest condolences to all those suffering loss after this great tragedy. We urge all who might be searching for family or friends to contact Amtrak’s 1-800 assistance line for help with locating their loved ones. If you believe you are in need of legal assistance for any reason, please to do not hesitate to contact the personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates by calling 1-877-MessaLaw or submitting an online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More