Amtrak to Pay Out Historic $265 Million Settlement for 2015 Derailment

Multiple news outlets, including AP, CBS News, NPR, KYW, Legal Intelligencer, and the Philadelphia Business Journal, are reporting that a historic settlement has been reached in the May 2015 Amtrak derailment that happened in Philadelphia. The settlement, which is reportedly $265 million, was approved by a federal judge in Philadelphia yesterday morning. The Amtrak settlement will cover all pending claims that resulted from the deadly train crash involving Amtrak Train No. 188. The settlement is part of a multi-district litigation (MDL).

Fredric Eisenberg of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., is a member of the Plaintiffs’ Management Committee (PMC) appointed by the court for the MDL. He had this to say regarding the settlement, “We are all pleased that the process of compensation is now underway. The PMC worked diligently under the court’s supervision to establish a program to compensate all victims in an efficient and timely manner.” The PMC believes that the settlement will allow all the pending claims related to the Amtrak derailment to be paid out by summer 2017.

The derailment resulted in over 200 injuries, including eight deaths. Amtrak Train No. 188 derailed while on its way to New York. WHYY-TV reported that the train was going more 106 mph in a 50-mph zone as it rounded a curve, which led to it derailing. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation concluded that the train’s engineer was distracted by news of another train being hit by a rock on the radio, which led to him mistakenly accelerate when he should’ve slowed down.

In May 2015, Amtrak Train No. 188 derailed, resulting in over 200 injuries and eight deaths. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation discovered evidence that the crash happened because the train’s engineer had been speeding heading into a curve. In addition, per the NTSB’s investigation report, the train engineer was speeding because he had been distracted by radio chatter about a rock-throwing incident involving another train. In this video, Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck partner Fredric Eisenberg talks about the railroad disaster during a CBS 3 Eyewitness News segment. Fred and train accident attorney Todd Schoenhaus are members of the Plaintiffs’ Management Committee (PMC) for the Amtrak Train No. 188 derailment lawsuit. The PMC was appointed by the court to represent the best interests of injury victims and the families of those killed in the train wreck. The PMC was able to help secure a $265 million settlement, which is the biggest train accident settlement in US history. To learn more about the record-setting Amtrak settlement or discuss your situation with an experienced train accident lawyer, call our firm at (866) 569-3400 or visit our website: Transcript: Our other top story tonight, Amtrak has agreed to pay $265 million dollars to settle claims related to the train derailment in Philadelphia that killed 8 people and injured more than 200 others last year. Lawyers say survivors and victims’ families will have the awards in hand by June. Good afternoon everyone I’m Ukee Washington. I'm Jessica Dean. Eyewitness News reporter Joe Holden is live near the crash scene in Port Richmond with the latest details on this settlement, Joe. Jessica, Ukee, good afternoon, and that infamous section of rail is just over my shoulder, where Amtrak train 188 wrecked, 8 dead, 200 hurt, a $265 million dollar settlement and lawyers hope it is a significant step in the healing process. Closure is now a step closer for the many victims of the Amtrak 188 disaster. Attorneys for the railroad and those representing the victims reached a $265 million dollar settlement. A federal judge approved the deal setting up what lawyers say is the largest settlement ever reached in a U.S. rail disaster. This is a settlement that, from inception to resolution, will be one of the quickest in the history of large mass tort catastrophes. Eight people were killed, 200 others hurt the night of May 12th, 2015, when an Amtrak train torpedoed into a sharp curve in the city's Port Richmond section. The train zoomed into the section of track at double the posted speed. A federal investigation found the conductor was distracted. Amtrak declined to comment on today's settlement. Attorneys say victims will be granted hearings in court, it will then be up to a federal judge to approve recommendations on awards. It will be efficient for these victims and most importantly it'll be timely because they have continued to suffer. Congress initially kept the settlement amount of $200 million dollars. Attorneys were successful in increasing it if not for the deal lawyers say 125 individual cases would have been left to meander through the courts. Absent this program, what would have happened, would be a course of a 125 or more lawsuits going forward. Each would have to be subject to a jury trial. But there is still work to do, however attorneys say they hope that all of the awards in all of these cases are handed out by next June. Live along the northeast corridor in Port Richmond, Joe Holden CBS 3 Eyewitness News. Alright Joe, thank you.

Why Is This Settlement Considered Historic?

The $265 million settlement represents the present value of the $295 Million federal damages cap for railroad accidents. The cap was raised from $200 million to $295 this past December. The change is largely credited to the work of plaintiffs’ lawyers and AAJ in the aftermath of the Amtrak Train No. 188 derailment to ensure that victims and their families received every bit of help they needed in the wake of this disastrous accident.

There’s no excuse for a train engineer losing control of a locomotive, because he or she was too engrossed in radio chatter. People lost their lives. Families will never be whole again. Catastrophic injury victims often face a lifetime of treatment, including rehab and physical therapy, and even then, they never fully recover. This can mean they can no longer continue working full-time due to their injuries, leaving their families with one less breadwinner or even the loss of their only source of income. As our history of successful verdicts and settlements proves, our firm fights for clients and their families, and we know how to get you the help you need.

More Coverage of the Historic Settlement