Back in May of this year, eight passengers were killed and dozens others seriously injured when an Amtrak train originating in Washington D.C. crashed just outside Philadelphia. According to one local news source, Amtrak recently indicated in court filings that it was not going to contest the issue of liability for compensatory damages by those passengers injured or killed in the fatal accident.
This means that the company will likely be held responsible for the medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering of those injured passengers who survived the accident. For the families of those who died in the accident, Amtrak will be responsible for their wrongful deaths. It remains to be seen if Amtrak will also be responsible for punitive damages.
In order for a judge to issue punitive damages to the accident victims and their families, the judge would have to determine whether Amtrak acted with “conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of others.” The company has not conceded that punitive damages are appropriate in this case.
According to the report, the evidence gathered so far indicates that the train was traveling at about twice the speed limit when the fatal train accident occurred. Thus far there is no indication as to why this was the case. However, both police and attorneys for the accident victims are looking into the cause of the wreck.
What Amtrak’s Admission of Liability Means for Accident Victims
When someone is injured in an accident and seeks financial recovery from the party they believe to be responsible, the injured party must prove several things in order to be successful. The biggest hurdle in most personal cases is establishing that the defendant was legally responsible for the injuries of the accident victim. Once this is done, the case moves into the damages phase, in which a judge or jury determines what amount of damages is appropriate, given the circumstances.
Here, Amtrak has admitted that they were negligent and therefore ultimately responsible for the injuries suffered by the passengers involved in the accident. However, the question still remains as to what level of damages is appropriate for each individual involved. As noted above, the issue of whether punitive damages are appropriate has not yet been determined, and there will likely be substantial litigation over that issue alone.
Have You Been Injured in a Washington D.C. Mass-Transit Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident or a mass-transit accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Even in cases where liability seems clear, there are almost always other tangential legal issues in which an attorney’s assistance can be helpful. To learn more about accident law in Washington D.C., and to speak with a dedicated attorney about your case, call one of the skilled personal injury advocates at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen have decades of combined experience fighting for the rights of injured Washingtonians and know what it takes to be successful in a Washington D.C. personal injury case. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
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