With the National Transportation Safety Board set to release its final report May 17 on the disastrous Amtrak crash in Philadelphia last year, the rail line has already begun to settle a handful of claims and has spent millions on health care for passengers injured in the crash.
Meanwhile, litigation over the crash is starting to take shape, with lawyers for both Amtrak and hundreds of passengers cataloguing injuries, lost wages and other economic losses.
The extent of losses is critical because the amount of money Amtrak can pay out in claims is limited by law to $295 million. Some of the lawyers involved in the case say there’s a good chance claims will exceed that, and that passengers will be competing among themselves for compensation.
“What you are seeing in the courtroom now is the beginning point,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Thomas Kline, who along with lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi is representing 32 passengers. “The first question we have to get to is what is the collective value,” of the claims against Amtrak.
Eight people were killed and more than 200 injured May 12 in the derailment of a northbound Amtrak train on the Frankford Junction curve in the Port Richmond section of the city.
At the time of the crash, the train was traveling 106 m.p.h. as it entered the curve, which had a posted speed limit of 50 m.p.h.