This past summer we discussed the fact that the victims from the major Amtrak crash in Philadelphia last year would not receive the full compensation they deserve due to the federal cap on damages in Amtrak cases. Congress typically does not enlarge the cap, and therefore the victims of this devastating crash and their families would only receive a minimal amount of financial compensation for their losses.
We are pleased to report, however, that Congress has raised the previously existing cap and instituted a new cap of $295 million for these accident victims.
The increase was proposed specifically for this accident, and will retroactively apply to any case resulting from it. It doesn’t apply to all public transportation accidents, or even all Amtrak accidents.
The total value of the claims resulting from the Philadelphia Amtrak crash will likely exceed the new cap of $295 million, but the increase is a clear improvement (and a surprising one). Caps, as we discussed in our original blog post, exist to protect the taxpayers and not the accident victims. They are generally a terrible thing for the people who have been hurt. The fact that Congress acted to enlarge this particular cap for this particular case in order to pay out more damages to the victims of the train accident speaks volumes to just how tragic of an accident this was.