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Gallegly bill proposes to increase liability cap in certain railroad accidents


On Friday, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) introduced a bill that aims to raise the liability cap in certain railroad accidents from $200 million to $500 million. The $200 million cap was instituted as part of the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997.

The higher cap would only apply to accidents caused by “gross negligence,” establishing a higher standard than the one set under current law, according to Gallegly. In addition, the higher cap would apply retroactively to Sept. 12, 2008, when a Metrolink train collided with a Union Pacific Railroad train in Chatsworth, Calif., causing 25 deaths and injuries to more than 150 people.

“Through no fault of their own, many now have injuries that will require a lifetime of medical treatment. Others lost a spouse or parent who was their primary means of support,” said Gallegly in a prepared statement. “The current cap will not even meet the medical needs of the survivors of one of the worst passenger train accidents in modern history. My bill is designed to address that.”

The bill has bipartisan support in the House and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) backs efforts to raise the liability cap in cases of gross negligence, Gallegly said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/20/2010