If you recall the recent news, you may remember an Amtrak train that collided with a freight train parked on the tracks in South Carolina in early February. This train crashed as a result of being routed incorrectly, but still, Amtrak is facing scrutiny.

According to the news from Feb. 11, Amtrak will likely end up paying for the victims’ legal claims despite not likely being entirely at fault. It’s believed that a CSX railway crew rerouted the train incorrectly, causing the crash.

Why does Amtrak pay for crashes it’s not responsible for?

The main reason is because it has agreements with private railroads and receives over $1 billion in federal subsidies every year. It’s normal for the railroads owning the tracks and for Amtrak to stay out of court to protect the contracts they have with one another. As a result, Amtrak usually ends up paying out damages if anyone is hurt on its trains.

The problem with this, according to some, is that the train companies aren’t individually held liable for incidents that take place. They’re receiving subsidies, so they’re not really paying for the damages themselves, either. In fact, it’s usually public money used to pay victims.

Since 2013, the number of major accidents caused by CSX has risen by over half, up to 3.08 accidents per million miles. This is much worse than the average in the industry. CSX claims that the change in total miles traveled and changes in train length have more to do with the rise than anything else.

Regardless of the situation, people who are hurt on Amtrak or other train systems need to know they can be compensated. Your attorney can help you decide who you can file a claim against if you aren’t sure after a crash.

Source: The State, “Even when not at fault, Amtrak can bear cost of accidents,” Jeff Horwitz, Feb. 11, 2018