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Tue Feb 13, 2018, 02:33 PM

'No-Fault' Pacts with Railroads Hold Amtrak Liable for Accidents It Didn't Cause

Not news. Just reality.

‘No-Fault’ Pacts with Railroads Hold Amtrak Liable for Accidents It Didn’t Cause

By Jeff Horwitz | February 13, 2018

Federal investigators are still looking at how CSX railway crews routed an Amtrak train into a parked freight train in Cayce, South Carolina, last weekend. But even if CSX should bear sole responsibility for the accident, Amtrak will likely end up paying crash victims’ legal claims with public money.

Amtrak pays for accidents it didn’t cause because of secretive agreements negotiated between the passenger rail company, which receives more than $1 billion annually in federal subsidies, and the private railroads, which own 97 percent of the tracks on which Amtrak travels.

Both Amtrak and freight railroads that own the tracks fight to keep those contracts secret in legal proceedings. But whatever the precise legal language, plaintiffs’ lawyers and former Amtrak officials say Amtrak generally bears the full cost of damages to its trains, passengers, employees and other crash victims — even in instances where crashes occurred as the result of a freight rail company’s negligence or misconduct.

Railroad industry advocates say that freight railways have ample incentive to keep their tracks safe for their employees, customers and investors. But the Surface Transportation Board and even some federal courts have long concluded that allowing railroads to escape liability for gross negligence is bad public policy. ... “The freight railroads don’t have an iron in the fire when it comes to making the safety improvements necessary to protect members of the public,” said Bob Pottroff, a Manhattan, Kansas, rail injury attorney who has sued CSX on behalf of an injured passenger from the Cayce crash. “They’re not paying the damages.”
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Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Reply 'No-Fault' Pacts with Railroads Hold Amtrak Liable for Accidents It Didn't Cause (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2018 OP
elleng Feb 2018 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Feb 13, 2018, 03:07 PM

1. 'The Surface Transportation Board and even some federal courts have long concluded

that allowing railroads to escape liability for gross negligence is bad public policy.'

Sure the heck is!

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