Some of the victims of the deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia last year have started settling their complaints with the railroad company.
The Associated Press reported that two women who suffered head trauma and other injuries in the May 12, 2015, derailment resolved their lawsuits with Amtrak last week, but strict confidentiality provisions prevent them and their lawyers from disclosing the details of the settlements, including how much they’ve received.
Federal investigators said that Amtrak train 188 engineer Brandon Bostian, 32, was distracted by a radio report about another nearby train being hit by a rock and lost his situational awareness. Subsequently, he accelerated the train to full-throttle at 106 mph ahead of a notoriously steep curve with a 50 mph speed limit.
The excessive speed caused the train to derail and crash, killing eight passengers and injuring dozens of others, many critically.
According to the Associated Press, one of the women who settled with Amtrak last week learned that she was pregnant while being treated in the hospital for her crash injuries, including broken bones and a concussion. The woman, a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y., had been thrown across one of the badly damaged train cars, causing her to fear injury to her unborn child.
Amtrak took full responsibility for the crash soon about four weeks after it happened and said it wouldn’t oppose claims for medical expenses and some other compensatory damages. However, the railroad’s total liability for the crash is capped at $295 million, so funds could be easily exhausted considering the number of personal injury and wrongful death claims.
A lawyer for the other woman who settled last week told the Associated Press that the settlement amount was enough to cover her out-of-pocket medical expenses for physical injuries, which include permanent disabilities from damage to her neck, back, and hip, and tooth and jaw, but added that “She’s always going to keep with her the memory, the thought of it and the trauma … it’s with her all the time.”