Bill proposes raising train crash liability cap

A Southern California congressman has introduced a bill proposing to change a federal law that sets a $200 million limit on damage payouts to train crash victims.

Rep. Elton Gallegly said Thursday he wants to raise the liability cap in certain railroad crashes to $500 million. He says the higher cap would only apply in cases where gross negligence contributed to the cause of the crash.

The bill is intended to help victims of a Metrolink commuter train crash that killed 25 people and injured more than 100 in Los Angeles. Investigators believe the Metrolink engineer was texting moments earlier and ran a red light, hitting a freight train head-on.

“I met with many of the victims of the crash last month,” Gallegly said. “Through no fault of their own, many now have injuries that will require a lifetime of medical treatment. Others lost a spouse or parent who was their primary means of support.”

Gallegly, a Republican from Simi Valley, says the current cap will not meet the medical needs of the survivors of the 2008 collision.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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