A woman from Plainfield settled a Personal Injury lawsuit over a commuter train derailment.
The woman, Kathryn Kuk, will receive $1.8 million under the agreement. She suffered multiple injuries to her lower back, requiring extensive surgery. She has already undergone two surgeries, and will probably need more. She also continues to suffer debilitating back pain.
Her attorney Tim Cavanaugh said that the accident “could have been avoided,” if Metra had installed a high-tech system that prevents speeding and train collisions, according to experts. The maximum authorized speed at the 48th St crossover is 10 mph; the train, however, was going 68 mph when it sped through the crossover and derailed.
The National Transportation Safety Board said that 47 people out of the 200 passengers were injured. Metra admitted fault in the 2003 accident. The federal government has mandated that, by 2015, the commuter rail agency must install “positive train control,” which uses GPS and computers to track trains and take control of them to prevent collisions and derailments. The system aims to reduce human error to prevent injuries and fatalities.
A similar derailment occurred just two years later. In September 2005, another Metra train derailed at nearly the same location and killed two people. Metra agreed to pay $11 million in 2008 to the families of the victims.
Spokesperson Michael Gillis said that Metra is “fully committed” to the federally-mandated deadline for improvements. The expected cost is about $200 million. “It is very complex to put this in, especially in Chicago,” Gillis said. “It’s not just a matter of getting the technology right but coordinating with our freight (railroad) partners. Everybody’s system has to talk to each others’.”
However, the Federal Railroad Administration has asked Congress to delay the deadline, as many railroads throughout the country will not be able to meet it.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury on personal or business property, you may have a personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at Strom Law, LLC can help. We offer free consultations, so contact us today to discuss the facts of your personal injury case. 803.252.4800.