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Rail News: Amtrak

Senator proposes increasing cap on Amtrak crash victims' compensation


U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) earlier this week introduced legislation that would raise the limit on damages for passenger-rail liability following Amtrak derailments.

The legislation would increase the Amtrak victim compensation fund from the current $200 million cap to $500 million per accident. Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate's transportation committee, proposed raising the limit in the aftermath of the last week's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, in which eight people were killed and more than 200 people were injured.

The fund pays victims' for medical and other expenses. Congress passed a measure in 1997 to limit the amount a passenger-rail company would have to pay victims after an accident.

"We can’t allow anyone to suffer additionally due to an outdated cap based on mid-1990 dollars," Nelson said in a prepared statement.

Some of the Amtrak passengers on last week's derailed train have already filed lawsuits, according to media reports.