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Metra Settles Last Case from 2003 Accident: $1.8 Million

It has been almost a decade since a Metra train derailed on the Rock Island, Illinois line at 47th Street in Chicago, but this week marks the final Illinois personal injury settlement for one of the injured victims of the 2003 accident.

According to NBC Chicago, the victim and her husband were among the more-than 45 people injured when the train missed a stoplight and derailed at 68 miles per hour in Chicago’s south side. The family was on their way home after having watched the husband compete in the Chicago Marathon. When the Metra locomotive went off-track, it flipped on its side, causing a fuel tank to rupture and catch fire.

When any passenger climbs aboard a train or any other type of passenger-carrier automobile, he or she trusts that the driver is properly licensed, well-rested and prepared to operate the vehicle or train in the safest possible manner. A passenger also trusts that the train and its rails have been properly inspected and designed, and that all parts of the system are fully operational. As a result, when passengers are seriously injured in train accidents, they may be able to take action to hold any and all wrongdoers accountable in an Illinois personal injury lawsuit.

This past Friday, Metra’s board of directors approved the settlement for this particular family for $1.8 million. The case was being tried in Cook County, Illinois, and, though Metra had admitted liability in the case, the issue in court was the extent of the woman’s injuries. Both sides reached a settlement before the trial concluded.

The victim and her family alleged that the accident would not have happened if Metra had positive train control systems in place, and following the settlement, the victim’s family urged Metra officials to install a safety system recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board after it determined the derailment was caused by human error, said NBC Chicago.

Despite the settlement’s large figure amount, it is not a windfall for the family.
The woman suffered multiple injuries, including severe lower back injuries and has since undergone two spinal fusion surgeries, as well as has had to have a permanent spinal cord pain stimulator implanted to help her to cope with the pain. She will need further surgeries and continues to suffer debilitating back pain, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Compensatory damages, such as those awarded in this case, attempt to put an injured person back in the position he or she was in before being injured, and may include such things as reimbursement for medical and hospital expenses, future rehabilitative costs, and remuneration for the loss of a normal life following the injury. Additionally, in some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded; punitive damages are intended to punish wrongdoers and send a message to the responsible corporation and other companies to be more careful in the future.

If you have been harmed in a passenger-carrier automobile accident, contact an attorney to be advised of your rights under the law. You may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.