Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2008

In 2008, Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act was released. The act is meant to provide guidance and support to the family members and loved ones of rail accident victims. After a mass transit accident, federal agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board and the American Red Cross, will be requested for support and for the task of carrying out the missions stipulated by the act.  The following reviews the different parts of the act and its missions.

Provide Notification to Family Members

‘Family members’ are defined by the act as “those people who have a relationship with a person involved in the accident.”

  • Direct family members
  • Friends
  • Relatives


The act states that family members of all identified victims involved in the accident shall receive notification of death or injury. More information will be provided to family members as it is learned.

The family can expect information in daily briefings. Family members may also call a toll-free number or contact an email address to obtain information about the accident and victims.

Locate Victims and Determine Victims’ Status

The act also requires that the organization overseeing disaster relief efforts “determine status and location of injured victims.” Once personal effects are obtained, family members may receive them.

Crisis Intervention and Memorial Services

The Act also provides for these services.

  • Crisis intervention
  • Logistical support
  • Other services mandated by the act


This includes providing mental health and counseling services and creating an area where people can grieve for their loved ones in private. What’s more, memorial services will also be arranged per the request of families of injured victims.

Other Components of the Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2008

Also to outlining the services that must be given to family members of victims of a rail accident—like updates and mental health services—the act also outlines prohibited acts. One such prohibited act is a prohibition of solicitation.

An attorney may make no unsolicited communication for a personal injury action or settlement. It is also prohibited for a state or organization to prevent a party named under the Act from providing mental health services. Finally, though not addressed by the Act itself, rail accident victims in Pennsylvania should know that there is a limit to recoverable damages after a train accident.

Learn More About What to Do after a Rail Accident

If your loved one’s been in a rail accident, you may be feeling confused, alarmed, and overwhelmed. To help you sort through your legal options moving forward, contact an attorney. You can reach the lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC today at 215-642-2335.