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Amtrak Train Derailment Crash

FAQs regarding the Tacoma, Washington Amtrak Train Derailment Accident

For passengers, their families, and those who were injured in the Seattle/Tacoma Amtrak Derailment, we have received numerous questions. For your reference, please see our answers below. We will update and add to these FAQs as we get more inquiries.
1. Amtrak has contacted me, should I talk to them?
After a mass transit accident, we encourage clients to speak to the NTSB, not the carrier (Amtrak in this case). The NTSB will lead an investigation into the cause of the crash. The NTSB investigators will take statements from passengers and witnesses. These statements are then available online in the accident docket as transcripts. The NTSB is a disinterested party. NOTE: Amtrak, unlike the NTSB, is an interested party. Amtrak may use information or recorded conversations against an injured person. Amtrak’s attorneys will advise them to protect Amtrak–not you. To protect your best interests, you are wise to retain an attorney. We will respond to all calls and emails and do not charge for consultations. (We only get paid, if we recover on your behalf.) We recommend that your attorney, not you, communicates with Amtrak
2. How long does the NTSB investigation take?
NTSB investigations are notoriously slow.  NTSB may take well over a year to issue its findings and conclusions. Results of the 2015 Philadelphia Derailment were made public approximately one year after the crash. Please recognize that NTSB conclusions are not admissible in court. Thus, your attorney will want to conduct his/her own investigations and obtain their own evidence. We have a team of attorneys dedicated to mass transit accident cases such as this and the Ride the Ducks crash. This is critical as evidence is easily lost or destroyed. Again, you are wise to contact a lawyer ASAP after a train crash or derailment to begin evidence preservation and the investigation.
3. What Duty Does Amtrak Owe Its Passengers?
Amtrak is a common carrier. A common carrier owes the highest duty of care under the law to its passengers. This duty has been described as a duty to treat its passengers as it would treat “the most cautious person.” In terms of personal injury law, this is the highest duty of care that exists and makes Amtrak responsible for even the slightest negligence.
4. Does the Federal Tort Claim Act cover lawsuits against Amtrak?
No. Although Amtrak is partially Federally funded, it is not covered by the FTCA. That means that someone injured in a train crash has a right to a jury trial (whereas FTCA claimants do not). Similarly, the FTCA notice requirements do not apply.
5. What resources are available to Amtrak family members and injury victims?
The NTSB’s Transportation Disaster Assistance Division (TDA) is a great resource. TDA is run by caring and knowledgeable specialists who are there to keep families informed. They also connect families with free counseling services and help get their belongings back. As the investigation progresses they update victims and their families.  To contact the TDA call Toll-Free – (800) 683-9369 or Direct (202) 314-6185 or email assistance@ntsb.gov. Click here for TDA’s railroad brochure outlining their services.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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