Who's at fault in Amtrak crash? Amtrak will pay regardless

WASHINGTON (AP) - How CSX railway crews routed an Amtrak train into a parked freight train in Cayce, South Carolina, remains under investigation. But even if CSX should bear sole responsibility for last weekend's accident, Amtrak will likely pay legal claims with public money.

Amtrak pays for accidents it didn't cause because of secretive agreements negotiated between the passenger rail company and the railroads on whose tracks the federally subsidized Amtrak travels.

Plaintiffs' lawyers and former Amtrak officials tell The Associated Press that Amtrak generally bears the full cost of damages to its trains, passengers, employees and other crash victims. And that's even in cases of negligence or misconduct by a freight rail company.

Some federal courts have long concluded that allowing railroads to escape liability for gross negligence is bad public policy.

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