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Chatsworth Metrolink victims meet with Sen. Feinstein aides

July 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Survivors and families of victims from the 2008 Metrolink train disaster in Chatsworth are looking for help. They're trying to convince Congress to increase the compensation for victims of tragedies like this one.

"I'm still relatively a young woman and I don't know if I am going to have enough money to survive on," said 58-year-old Simi Valley resident Patty Galtress.

Galtress is one of the 46 victims critically injured in the Chatsworth Metrolink train crash in 2008. In all, 25 people were killed, 135 injured. It was the deadliest accident in Metrolink history.

Veolia Transportation accepted liability for the accident. The company employed the engineer who was texting on his cellphone when the Metrolink ran a stoplight, causing the crash.

Galtress says she got a fraction of the money she felt she should have gotten as part of the $200-million liability award split between all the victims.

In 1996, Congress set the liability limit for accidents at $200 million.

"They put a cap on our lives. You cannot put a cap on a disaster like this," said Galtress.

"I'm hoping that this kind of thing that happened to us will never happen again in the future. It's a very big financial loss," said Simi Valley resident Frank Kohler.

Friday morning victims and families members of those killed in the crash held a closed meeting in Simi Valley with aides from Senator Dianne Feinstein's office. They say they met to talk about what they can possible do to get the liability limit raised.

"If there's any way that we can make it right I am willing to be a part of that," said Simi Valley resident Jenny Fuller.

"I see people really struggling to keep their fight going," said Camarillo resident Jeannette Noble.

Last year Senator Feinstein spearheaded legislation to raise the liability limit for rail passenger accidents from $200 million to $500 million. The legislation failed in the Senate.


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