Saturday 18 November 2017

Passengers file lawsuit over deadly US train crash

Emergency workers and Amtrak personnel inspect the derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia Credit: Lucas Jackson
Emergency workers and Amtrak personnel inspect the derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia Credit: Lucas Jackson

Joseph Ax

Four passengers on an Amtrak commuter train that derailed in Philadelphia last week have filed a federal lawsuit against the US rail service, citing "serious and disabling" injuries.

The lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia, appears to be the first brought by non-employee passengers since the derailment on May 12 that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others.

The plaintiffs included two Spanish citizens.

Read More: 'Every bone in my body hurts' - Dubliner cheats death in Philadelphia train crash

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and accused both Amtrak and the engineer of the train, Brandon Bostian, of negligence and recklessness.

Federal law caps the payout from Amtrak to all victims of a single crash at $200 million.

Personal injury legal experts have said the figure may be too low to cover the costs of the people killed and injured in the derailment.

Read More: Philadelphia train crash: Engineer remembers 'attempting to reduce speed' but 'can't recall crash'

Last week, Amtrak employee Bruce Phillips, who was riding the train as a passenger, filed the first lawsuit over the crash.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

The train, headed from Washington to New York with 243 people on board, was traveling at twice the 50-mile-per-hour speed limit when it entered a sharp curve and derailed just north of Philadelphia.

Read More: US crash train 'doing 100mph on bend'

NTSB investigators were looking into the possibility a projectile struck the train after they found a circular pattern of damage on the locomotive's windshield after the accident.

The NTSB said it has not ruled out mechanical problems, human error or a deliberate act by its driver Brandon Bostian.

The 32-year-old, who suffered a concussion, told investigators he has no memory of what occurred after the train pulled out of the North Philadelphia station, just before the crash.


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