Judge Approves $265M Settlement in 2015 Pennsylvania Amtrak Derailment

By and | October 28, 2016

A U.S. federal judge on Thursday approved a $265 million settlement over an Amtrak passenger train crash in Philadelphia in 2015 that killed eight people and injured about 200 others, court records showed.

The settlement ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Legrome Davis of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania called for Amtrak and its insurers to make the payments for claims arising from the derailment to a court-supervised trust by Feb. 28, 2017.

The deal also called for two court-appointed masters to review victims’ claims.

“The settlement program is a fair, uniform, and efficient method to compensate those that lost loved ones as well as the more than 200 injured survivors,” Thomas Kline, whose law firm Kline & Specter represents multiple crash victims, said in a statement.

Amtrak said it was grateful to the court for its involvement but declined to comment further.

“Amtrak appreciates the guidance and involvement of the Court in this matter,” Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said in a statement. “Because of the ongoing nature of the litigation Amtrak will have no further comment at this time.”

Federal law limits Amtrak’s total liability to $295 million for any single crash.

The Amtrak train was traveling through Philadelphia on May 12, 2015 with 243 people on board when it entered a curve at more than twice the recommended 50 miles-per-hour (80 kph) speed limit and derailed, mangling one car and knocking two others on their sides.

The engineer driving the train was likely distracted by radio traffic when the crash occurred, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released in May.

The incident could have been prevented if the track had been outfitted with a safety system known as positive train control, the agency’s report concluded.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stemple and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry and Bernadette Baum)

Topics Legislation Pennsylvania

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