What is the Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act?

When a loved one is in an accident, not knowing if they’re okay can be an extremely frightening experience. To help family members and loved ones cope with the unknown, the waiting, and the realities of a train accident, the federal government passed the Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act (RPDFAA) of 2008. The Act was designed to provide assistance to the families of victims of railway accidents. An overview is below.

Things Provided to Families of Passengers

The act allows for the federal government to designate a nonprofit organization to deliver services to the family members of railway passengers. According to Section C of the Act, the responsibilities of the designated organization include the following.

  • To provide mental health and counseling services
  • To provide an area where the families can grieve in private initially following an accident
  • To meet with families who have traveled to the crash site, and to contact those who can not/have not
  • To arrange a memorial service in consultation with families

Who’s covered under the RPDFAA?

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the passenger rail accident must result in “major loss of life” and occur as an interstate intercity rail passenger operation or high-speed rail operation.

The term passenger is defined to mean one of three things.

  • An employee of a rail passenger carrier aboard the train
  • Any other person aboard the train
  • Any other person killed or injured in a passenger rail accident

The term ‘family members’ is used to describe anyone who had a relationship with an individual involved in an accident. We have a list of resources for foreign victims of the Amtrak train 188 derailment.

Other Important Parts of the RPDFAA

The RPDFAA also establishes that the designated organization will also handle some other important tasks.

  • Determining the status and location of injured victims
  • Monitoring search and recovery options
  • Maintaining contact with victims and their families
  • Providing daily briefings to families
  • Providing initial notification to family member upon notice of the accident
  • Providing for the return of personal effects

What’s next for victims and their families?

We hope that your loved one who was in a train accident is okay. If not, you may have questions about liability and who will pay for injuries or burial expenses.

At Cordisco & Saile LLC, our attorneys can help you to understand responsibility in a train accident. We can also assist you in filing a claim if need be. If your loved one was hurt, let us help you. Contact us at 215-642-2335 as soon as possible.