Train Derailment/Wrongful Death Suit Settles for $4.577 Million

An 80-car, 10,000-ton CSX coal train en route to Washington, DC lost braking control while descending a seventeen mile grade. Due to excessive speed, the train lost its brakes and reached a curve at nearly 60 mph and derailed. Several fully-loaded, 100-ton coal cars smashed into a house, killing a 15 year old boy asleep on the couch and injuring several others. The plaintiff successfully argued that CSX should have set the track speed limit lower (as it did the day after the crash); that they lacked a corporate policy for checking dynamic brakes and that the engineer was poorly trained. The case was filed in West Virginia to pursue maximum benefits to the injured, as the state of Maryland would have limited recovery at $2 million. The case settled for $4.577 million.

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