Train accidents can have serious consequences, both financially and in terms of the human costs. This is especially the case for a 2011 crash in Nevada involving a tractor trailer and an Amtrak train. The accident, which our Minneapolis readers may remember hearing about, took the lives of six individuals and injured multiple others. The outcome of subsequent legal action is that the trucking company may have to pay over $5.7 million. Sources said that around $1.2 million of the award will go to medical costs for employees and passengers involved in the train accident.

The award is a big one, with $4.5 million going to Amtrak and $210,777 to the railroad company for damages. In addition, another $1 million could be added in interest and attorney fees. As big as the award is, though, it is only around half of what Amtrak and Union Pacific were hoping for. 

The cause of the accident, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigation, was driver inattention and faulty brakes. The trucker responsible for the crash had apparently also had a history of speeding violations, though it isn’t clear from sources how that factored into the 2011 crash if at all. The trucking company, for its part, had argued at trial that the crossing gate and signal lights had malfunctioned, but that railroad officials hid or destroyed that evidence. That line of argument was obviously not successful at trial.

Following the crash, naturally, lawsuits were filed for wrongful death and personal injury. It isn’t known whether all those cases are resolved at this point. Such litigation, as readers know, is to be expected in these kinds of cases. Anybody who is harmed in a motor vehicle accident should understand their right to pursue personal injury or wrongful death litigation and be sure to work with an experienced attorney throughout the process.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Nevada firm could pay $5.5 million in Amtrak crash,” Scott Sonner, September 17, 2014.