Consolidation of Amtrak Train 188 lawsuits
November 13, 2015 | Personal Injury
All of the personal injury lawsuits resulting from the derailment of Amtrak Train 188 in May will now be consolidated and heard in Philadelphia, PA. More than 60 lawsuits were filed, including some in New York, related to the train derailment. U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis will now oversee all the cases under the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov). This group organizes lawsuits from different courts around the country that are filed based on similar issues. It will also select the judge or judges who will be assigned to conduct the proceedings in each case. This panel consists of seven federal judges appointed to the panel by the United States Chief Justice.
In this case, Amtrak stated back in July that it would not fight claims for compensatory damages. Many of the suits, however, seek compensatory damages along with punitive damages. The punitive damages claims cite National Transportation Safety Board investigations that the Amtrak train was going double the speed limit on May 12, 2015, killing eight people and injuring over 200 passengers. Some suits even claim that Amtrak could and should have put a system on the train to prevent it from speeding. One report states that the train was traveling 106 miles per hour as it neared a left turn on the track where the speed limit was 50 miles per hour. This report also states that the speed limit for the section of track before the curve was 80 miles per hour, and that the engineer applied the emergency brake moments before the train derailed at the curve.
What are Compensatory Damages?
Compensatory damages are damages that are meant to reimburse personal injury plaintiffs for monetary costs incurred as a result of their injuries. These type of costs include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and even wrongful death damages.
What are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are damages that punish a defendant for negligence. These damages are often harder to receive in court than compensatory damages. In some cases, statutes may limit the amount of punitive damages a plaintiff is entitled to receive. In this case, a 1997 law caps the total amount of damages that Amtrak is required to pay to any group of passengers involved in any one accident. The maximum amount that Amtrak would be required to pay under this law is $200 million.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to this accident or any other accident, the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer is crucial to navigating the complex personal injury laws in each state. Consult with the attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today and get more information on your rights and the compensation to which you may be entitled. It can be difficult to know where to begin and how to proceed in these situations. Statutes of limitations are important and may differ in each case, so it is imperative to seek counsel today if you have suffered from an injury. Call (212) 397-1000 to schedule your free consultation today.
How Can We Help?
Do you need assistance with a legal matter? Our attorneys have the experience needed to guide you in the right direction.