More passengers join lawsuit against Amtrak after deadly derailment in Montana

Amtrak train derailment along Hi-Line
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Posted at 6:26 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 20:26:48-04

GREAT FALLS — The law firm representing seven Amtrak passengers filing suit against Amtrak after last month's derailment in Liberty County is now representing four additional passengers.

Three people died and dozens of people were injured in the September 25 derailment; the National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to investigate the derailment.

One of the passengers, Justin Ruddell, spoke at a virtual news conference on Thursday along with members of the Clifford Law Firm.

Ruddell said he was traveling back to Oregon after visiting the East coast. He said when the train derailed he was in a bathroom. He said the bathroom door and an exterior door on the train opened.

He said when that happened, he saw dirt and gravel getting scooped up into the train car and says he held onto a bar in the bathroom to avoid falling and, in his words, "getting crushed by the train or ground up into the dirt."

In a prepared statement, he said Amtrak needs to be held accountable.

"Amtrak and those responsible for this tragedy must be held accountable for the mistakes they make. They can not offer what they hold out to be safe transportation, then walk away when people are killed or injured for their entire lives,” Ruddell said.

"This derailment should not be happening in this country in 2021. It's inexcusable, it should be a never-event and we are going to hold Amtrak (and) BNSF responsible. We're doing it for our clients and for the future of all traveling passengers in the United States,” said attorney Henry Simmons.

The representatives from the law firm said based on their last case involving an Amtrak derailment, this case could take a year and a half to two years to play out.

An NTSB investigation looks not only at what happened, but why, and proposes recommendations to prevent future similar tragedies.

Communities rally to help after deadly Hi-Line train derailment