Many of you may not be aware that back in the 90’s, when $200 million dollars was a lot of money, congress caved to special interests and capped damages in train accidents no matter how many people were killed, to $200 million dollars. At least one Chatsworth train crash lawyer is speaking out and challenging this law.
Ever since the September 12, 2008 Chatsworth train crash, public transportation attorney, Michael Ehline, has been questioning the constitutional validity and fairness of the $200,000,000 single train crash damages cap ever since the Metrolink spokeswoman accepted fault.
After all says Ehline, “this was the deadliest train crash in Metrolink’s short history”. Readers will recall that this federal damages cap was passed into law back in the 90’s and there has never been any consideration as to inflation, or costs of living increases.
Ehline said that: “All this does is give train companies a chance to weight whether or not to spend the money to make things safe, or rest comforted and assured that if they do nothing, all they have to pay is $200 million dollars, no matter how many people are killed”
And since this recent Chatsworth train crash will likely be the costliest and deadliest and most avoidable train crash in recent memory, Ehline said he will challenge legality of a $200 million cap Congress imposed on a railroad’s liability for single train collisions.
Metrolink accident lawyers representing victims and families alleging negligence in the Chatsworth Metrolink crash are warning that the general, special and punitive damagesarising from this current crash, will more likely than not, exhaust the small pittance of $200 million dollars.
This is especially true when considering that many people aboard the train were professionals who lived in the Valley with incomes that exceeded six figures. This means those well to do people who suffered wrongful death could have come close to or exceeded that figure over their lifetimes in expected contributions to their families left behind.
Typical awards for wrongful death and catastrophic injuries would include economic support of the decedents. Ehlne believes that this may be one instance in which greedy insurance companies and special interest bought and paid for congressmen and senators will have to reverse themselves in the face of the public outcry in the avoidable Chatsworth train crash of September 12, 2008. “It may be the only time in U.S. history where a damages cap would be increased, or at least be made to conform with the costs of living and inflation, unlike medical malpractice damages caps which make it much easier for unscrupulous doctors to get away with malpractice today” Ehline said.
In all events, a constitutional challenge to the damages cap will be likely challenged.