The New York Times reported that 7 people were hurt, one seriously, when The Vermonter, an Amtrak train travelling southbound to Washington, D.C. that was carrying 98 passengers and four crew members, derailed after hitting rocks on the tracks in Northfield, Vermont on October 5, 2015. Amtrak officials indicated that the train hit rocks that had fallen from a ledge onto the tracks. The locomotive and one of the passenger coaches tumbled down an embankment. Three passenger cars left the tracks but remained upright. The track, the Times reports, is operated by New England Central Railroad and was upgraded in 2013.
Amtrak is federally funded and Congress has limited Amtrak’s liability to train passenger accident victims and their families to $200 million for all claims, including claims for punitive damages, arising from a single accident or incident. Because there is a monetary cap on claims, Amtrak passenger accident victims may not receive appropriate financial compensation for their damages should they be injured in an Amtrak train accident. Federal law permits Amtrak to choose whether it will defend a lawsuit in Federal Court versus a State Court. As a result, Amtrak will most often choose to defend itself in Federal Court in order to take advantage of the federal rules of procedure and the expanded, and generally less generous, jury pools.
O’Dwyer & Bernstien has skilled attorneys who will insure that the accident is thoroughly investigated to make certain that all evidence is gathered and evaluated by appropriate experts. At the same time our attorneys will advise and assist the injured passenger and his/her family through the physical, emotional and economic challenges associated with suffering serious injuries, such as medical bills and loss of income due to loss time from work.
In our over 100 years of the practice of law, O’Dwyer & Bernstien has filed suit on behalf of numerous victims of train accidents, subway accidents and plane accidents in both State and Federal Courts. If you or a loved one suffered a severe injury or death in a train, subway or plane accident, contact O’Dwyer & Bernstien for a free consultation. Our attorneys have experience with litigation involving common carriers of all types and will ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for your injuries.