Last updated: 12:23 PM ET, Sun July 12 2015

Amtrak Accepting Responsibility for Fatal Derailment

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | July 12, 2015

Amtrak Accepting Responsibility for Fatal Derailment

Amtrak is not offering any legal resistance to those filing the first lawsuits related to the fatal May derailment of Train 188 in Philadelphia according to a PRNewswire release, sourcing a statement made jointly by two legal firms.

Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. along with Kline & Specter, P.C. revealed that in Amtrak’s first legal filings related to the derailment, they admitted the train was "traveling in excess of the allowable speed," and added, "it will not contest liability for compensatory damages proximately caused by the derailment of Train 188 on May 12, 2015." These statements were part of the rail company’s response to two passenger cases filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

Attorney Tom Kline of Kline & Specter, P.C., representing passenger Blair Berman and other plaintiffs, commented, "The admission of liability by Amtrak in the first two filed cases is an important step in a longer process in front of the injured and the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy."

Lawyer Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., representing passenger Felicidad Iban and another group of plaintiffs, said, "There is still much work to be done now that Amtrak has admitted fault in the initial filed cases. We now will move forward to seek compensation and a full accounting of how this accident occurred and, importantly, how future derailments can be prevented."

In terms of preventing future accidents of this type, the Federal Railroad Administration would not let the Northeast Corridor — the route on which the accident occurred — reopen until crucial safety systems were installed. Also, inward-facing cameras to monitor engineers will be retrofitted in all locomotives by the end of 2015. 

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