Delawareans with disabilities who were unable to access Amtrak trains at the Newark, Delaware train station may be eligible for financial compensation for their injuries. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently resolved a long-standing investigation into accessibility of Amtrak stations and facilities.
The Disabilities Law Program (DLP) of Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI) assisted in the survey of train stations across the country by providing measurements, photos, and videos of the Newark station to the National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN) for use in a report to DOJ, which prompted DOJ to open a case.
The case was recently settled by Amtrak and DOJ, with Amtrak agreeing to fix 78 inaccessible stations, including Newark’s, and to pay $2.25 million to individuals hurt by the inaccessibility.
“There have been long standing accessibility problems at the Newark station, and we are gratified that Amtrak is addressing this problem, both by offering some compensation for those who tried to use the facility, and more importantly, by making the site truly accessible. The disability community is looking forward to the completely new station opening later this year, which will provide full accessibility,” said Disabilities Law Program Project Director Laura Waterland.
To be eligible for monetary compensation, an individual must:
- Have a mobility disability;
- Be harmed physically or emotionally because of accessibility issues, including, for example, inaccessible parking; steep slopes or steps to get to the station; lack of directional signs; toilet rooms with inaccessible entrances, stalls, or sinks; high ticket counters; deteriorated platforms; and narrow routes at stations, at one or more the stations listed below between July 27, 2013, and Dec. 2, 2020;
- Have lived at, visited, or desired to visit a place closer to one or more of the stations listed below than an accessible, alternative Amtrak station; and
- Submit a claim form and declaration by mail, fax, email or online to the claims administrator by no later than May 29, 2021. Help is available from the settlement administrator for those who are unable to complete the claim form due to a disability.
Claims must be filed by May 29, 2021.
For more details about the settlement and how to make a claim visit https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/225-million-fund-available-justice-department-settlement-amtrak. Online claims can be filed at www.AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com.