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Lawsuits over Amtrak Crash Seek to Challenge Damages Cap for Catastrophic Injuries

A 1990s law capped the damages available to Amtrak train passengers who suffer catastrophic injuries at $200 million per accident, no matter how many passengers are injured. In the wake of a crash in Philadelphia, however, attorneys have begun to band together in order to challenge the law.

Investigators say that the train derailed after attempting to navigate a dangerous curve at 106 miles per hour, which is more than twice the posted speed limit for that stretch of track. Currently, an investigation is underway to match the engineer's cell phone records to the train's data in order to determine whether the engineer was texting or talking on the phone at any critical point before the crash.

The accident claimed eight lives and left dozens of passengers injured, some severely. Nevertheless, federal law currently caps damages at $200 million total per accident - not per injured passenger. Since the law only applies to passengers and not to Amtrak staff who are injured, however, attorneys for several injured passengers plan to argue that the law unfairly discriminates between passengers and crew. A bill has also been introduced in Congress to raise the cap to $500 million per accident.

The Amtrak station in Omaha, Nebraska, on South 9th Street, is close to many of the city's attractions and is thus a popular hub for travelers who prefer to avoid the city's busy streets. A change to the laws affecting the survivors of Amtrak accidents will affect riders nationwide, which is why experienced Nebraska train accident lawyers are paying close attention to the outcome of the Philadelphia case.


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