Chances are that if you mention Amtrak to someone today they will know what you're talking about. The government subsidized national passenger train company has been in the news a lot lately -- most recently this week's deadly crash.
The accident that has claimed eight lives so far didn't happen in Georgia, but it well could have. And it wasn't too long ago that we posted about another Amtrak accident in which more than 50 passengers wound up hospitalized after a train collided with an oversized truck trailer on a rail crossing in North Carolina.
The focus of that item was that it can sometimes be a challenge to trace exactly who should bear the responsibility of covering compensation claims when a truck is involved. In many instances trucking companies are structured in a way so as to limit the liability they might face.
Experienced attorneys know that at times it becomes necessary to protect victims' rights by pursing compensation from others, such as a shipper who hired the trucking firm or the manufacturer of a part that might have been determined to have been faulty.
As it turns out, the first known suit to come out of the North Carolina crash does not feature any direct claim by an injury victim. Rather, it pits the two rail companies against the trucking firm.
Amtrak and CSX railroad acknowledge in the suit that claims are expected, but they say they shouldn't have to bear the financial burden. They allege that the trucking company's negligence was responsible for the crash and that, when the time comes, they should be able to recover their losses from the trucking firm.
Specifically, the rail firms say the company's failures resulted in the truck getting stuck on the tracks. And they say the truck's driver and two private escort drivers failed to alert either of the rail companies about the danger.
Considering that an official report about the accident doesn't appear to have been issued yet it would seem that the suit is a strategic move to mitigate the rail companies' liability exposure.