We have partnered with Clifford Law Offices, a Chicago-based firm that also specializes in personal injury cases, to represent the first plaintiff to file a lawsuit after being severely injured on the roadway when his vehicle was crushed by the Amtrak derailment.
We are proud of Blaine Wilmotte for standing up to help hold Amtrak accountable for this senseless tragedy, and we are advocating for him to help make sure this doesn’t happen again.
We are continuing to monitor this situation and update our main Amtrak derailment hub as the investigation and news unfolds.
You can read the full press release below.
First Lawsuit Filed Among Motor Vehicle Victims of Amtrak Train Derailment, According to Attorneys Clifford Law and Luvera Law Firm
SEATTLE An individual seriously injured when the motor vehicle he was riding in was crushed by the Amtrak derailment on Interstate 5 has filed suit, the first among victims not riding on the train, according to attorneys Clifford Law Offices, a nationally recognized personal injury and wrongful death law firm based in Chicago, and the Luvera Law Firm, plaintiff’s attorneys in Seattle.
Clifford Law Offices and the Luvera Law Firm yesterday filed the first passenger lawsuit on behalf of a victim injured in the rail car that was dangling over Interstate 5 following the derailment. The firms have currently been retained by 10 individuals who were injured in the Dec. 18 derailment. Today’s lawsuit was filed in Washington state court, King County, on behalf of Blaine Wilmotte, who was seated in the front seat as a passenger in a vehicle below as he headed to a job site in the Seattle area. The 24-year-old suffered multiple traumatic fractures of his limbs as well as emotional injuries that are ongoing. Also named in today’s lawsuit is Wilmotte’s wife, Madison.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the probable cause of the crash that initially reported the passenger train was traveling at 80 miles per hour around a curve that called for a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour.
Michael S. Krzak, partner at Clifford Law Offices handling the matter, reiterated that several people who were injured or the families of those who lost loved ones have contacted the firm because of Amtrak representatives reaching out to them in the hospital with paperwork to sign without a complete explanation of what their rights are following such a tragic incident.
"Our clients cannot fathom how Amtrak 501 entered a curve at almost three times the posted speed limit according to information the NTSB has released," Krzak said. "As a common carrier for hire, Amtrak owes a duty of the highest care to the individuals it is transporting. Amtrak utterly failed in its duties and responsibilities to the victims on the train as well as those who were in the unfortunate path of the train as it left the tracks and crushed numerous vehicles on Interstate 5.
"The filing of these civil lawsuits is the first step in giving the victims and their families the answers that they need as to what led to this derailment. The hope is that one day lawsuits like these will raise awareness and make rail travel safer," Krzak said.
Robert Gellatly of Luvera Law Firm added, “Drivers should be focused on the safety of other drivers, not on trains crashing on top of them.”
“Amtrak chooses to run its trains too fast while slow-walking common sense safety changes,” Gellatly said. “Despite repeated mass tragedies, Amtrak continues to endanger the public while hiding behind special federal protection that won't help them here. We're sorry this had to happen again, but are very proud of our clients for standing up to stop Amtrak from blindly racing toward another senseless tragedy."