Four passengers have filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania’s Eastern district against Amtrak, charging the train company and the train conductor, Brandon Bostian, with recklessness and negligence that led to the accident that left eight people dead and injured more than 200 others.
The injured plaintiffs include 64-year-old Felicidad Redondo Iban, who lawyers say had her right arm nearly severed, and 55-year-old María Jesús Redondo Iban, whose injuries they say include lacerations, bruises and post-traumatic stress.
The Associated Press is reporting that the two Spanish tourists are cousins, while AFP says they are aunt and niece.
The other plaintiffs include Brooklyn ad executive Daniel Armyn, who had three broken ribs, lost teeth and tore ligaments in his knee, and Amy Miller of Princeton, who suffered a concussion and back injuries.
The two Spanish women were trapped inside one of the train cars for a long time, the suit alleges, with Felicidad suffering “serious wounds that required multiple surgical interventions” in order to prevent having her arm amputated.
Two people not aboard the train – Nicole Armyn, Daniel's wife, and Marino Ucero Estrades, María Jesús Redondo's husband – are also plaintiffs in the suit.
The suit charges that the train was going “outrageously fast,” and that the defendants’ “reckless actions resulted in the train violently leaving the tracks and flipping over,” according to The Record of Northern New Jersey.
Another, unrelated lawsuit was filed in Newark, N.J., by an Amtrak conductor, Emilio Fonseca, who was aboard the train and is still hospitalized with broken bones and head trauma.
Both suits are seeking unspecified amount of damages, but in 1997, Congress capped the amount of money that could be paid out in claims against Amtrak at $200 million.
On top of negligence, the 36-page lawsuit accuses Amtrak of two counts of “loss of consortium” – which is being deprived of a spouse's love and affection.
Robert Zimmerman, an attorney from the firm that filed the passenger’s suit, told AFP that the cap is unconstitutional. "We will be seeking ways to challenge that both in court and legislatively," he said.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced a bill on Monday that would raise the limit to $500 million.
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