California Zephyr Nevada wreck

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muralist0221

Active Member
I'm sure we are saddened and possibly outraged by the actions of the gravel truck driver who smacked into the side of the California Zephyr last week. The trucker had numerous violations and they are checking his cell phone to see if that was a distraction. Granted the investigation is not complete yet, but it looks bad for the trucking company who were not taking calls about the incident.

My question: In this and other Amtrak wrecks where there is outside interference and negligence, do Amtrak lawyers go after the negligent companies with avengence? The wreck of the City of New Orleans in Bourbonnes, Ill. and the Sunset Limited bridge wreck in Louisiana come to mind. Does Amtrak have to pay any victims and then attempt to
subrogate. This could mean the taxpayers end up footing the bill.

A GM & O engineer once told me a drunken homeless man trespassed and walked into his engine suffering serious injuries. The railroad agreed to pay him $1000/month for life. It was easier to write this off, rather than go to court and have him play "innocent victim". Sounds like an example of "corporate cowardness".
 
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RailfanRails

Guest
No one wins in these situations except the lawyers. Corporations like this typically collect insurance payments and call it good. The negative publicity, fickle jury's and lack of effective Tort laws usually result in the corporation losing on many fronts. Don't be suprised if Amtrak is sued by the truck drivers family and the passengers ending up paying out millions.
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
My question: In this and other Amtrak wrecks where there is outside interference and negligence, do Amtrak lawyers go after the negligent companies with avengence?
Certainly they will seek to recover damages. However I wouldn't be surprised if there is much to get. It's a small truck company so assets are minimal. I wouldn't be surprised to see the equipment and any property are leased. It’ll go bankrupt so all there will be is whatever insurance there is and that likely has a cap on the coverage.

A GM & O engineer once told me a drunken homeless man trespassed and walked into his engine suffering serious injuries. The railroad agreed to pay him $1000/month for life. It was easier to write this off, rather than go to court and have him play "innocent victim". Sounds like an example of "corporate cowardness".
It depends on you define cowardice. What is the expected remaining life of a drunken homeless man? Say they payout $1000 a month for twenty years. In the end they pay $240K.

They could go to court, fight the case and even if they prevail they pay their own attorneys six figures in fees and costs. They could fight, loose and have a sympathetic jury award the poor plaintiff millions…and still pay their attorneys six figures in fees. The GM&O knew it was going to pay someone no matter what. They settle at a predictable cost and move on.
 

andrewjonathon

New Member
I think it goes with out saying Amtrak will be held responsible for compensating passengers. As a common carrier I think it would be hard to imagine a case where they wouldn't be held at least partially responsible for injuries their passengers incurred. For example, after the truck hit the train it burned up pretty quickly. Can any of the deaths and injuries be attributed to events after the impact (i.e. use of flammable materials). If so it could create a liability for Amtrak. Using this type of logic the manufacturer of the Superliners could also end up as a defendant in a lawsuit. Another consideration might be if Amtrak onboard personnel give appropriate instructions to help people off the train etc or did their actions contribute to the extent of injuries incurred.
 

muralist0221

Active Member
As of today, Trains Magazine newswire is reporting that Amtrak attendent, Alexandra Curtis has employed a Chicago law firm to seek damages from the John Davis Trucking Company. She appears to be the first one. Hope she collects.
Thanks to all the previous contributors.
 

otlocal

New Member
It seems that Amtrak, has been down this road before,concerning faulty equipment,flammable materials,carbuiders etc.and i would think Amtrak ,has some type of insurance and contingency for just this kind of accident,and i wouldn't think that they would be ready to write big fat checks just like that,...just a thought.
 




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