Amtrak Derailment Crash Costs Company $265M
Amtrak has recently agreed to pay $265 million to settle claims related to a 2015 train derailment that killed 8 people and injured 200 others. The settlement is one of the largest railway accident settlements in history. It is just $30 million below the cap of $295 million for such accidents.
This settlement is noteworthy not only because of the size of the settlement, but because of how quickly it was agreed upon. In disaster cases such as these, the process of going from initiating a case to going to trial can take several years. But in this case, the settlement was agreed upon less than two years after the date of the accident.
On the night of May 12, 2015, an Amtrak train traveling from Washington D.C. to New York City left the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. As the train entered a left curve at the Frankford Junction point between Philadelphia’s Kensington and Port Richmond neighborhoods, the train was traveling at a speed of 106 MPH, much too high of a speed for that curve, and derailed as a result. The train should have been traveling at 80 MPH as it approached the curve and at 50 MPH as it moved through the curve. The train had 238 passengers and 5 crew members on board at the time of the accident.
It’s still unclear why, exactly, the train’s engineer failed to slow down before entering the curve. Following the accident, more than 125 lawsuits were filed against Amtrak for many different types of injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder and paralysis. Injured passengers and their families are still eligible to receive something from the settlement even if they haven’t yet filed a lawsuit against Amtrak. Many of the plaintiffs who have filed suits against Amtrak felt that agreeing to the settlement would be the fastest way to get the assistance they so badly need.
The amount of money each party will receive will be determined by several different factors, including past and future medical expenses and lost wages. If the total of the settlements is more than $265M, the amount of each individual claim will be decreased proportionately. If the total damages are less than $265M, each claim will be increased accordingly.
The 2015 accident wasn’t the first train derailment to occur in this junction of the railway. In 1943, the Congressional Limited, part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, derailed in the exact same area when the train’s journal box overheated and caught on fire. 117 people were killed in that accident and 79 people were injured.