Chesapeake, VA Personal Injury Attorney Reports: Family Who Lost Mother, Unborn Grandchild in Train Derailment Receives $36M Settlement

Canadian National Railway has agreed to pay members of a Rockford, Illinois (IL), family a total of $36 million in settlements for wrongful death and injury claims stemming from a derailment and fire that investigators have linked to negligence by the railroad and its train crew.

According to a detailed recreation of the June 19, 2009, accident published in the Rockford Register Star, both dispatchers and supervisors at the rail company's headquarters and the engineer operating the train hauling 2 million gallons of highly flammable ethanol ignored repeated warnings from Rockford emergency personnel that tracks at the location where the freight train jumped the rails had been washed out by a violent thunderstorm. Subsequent investigations revealed that the engineer actually increased his train's speed as he approached the damaged section of track.

View a larger map of the area where a Canadian National train hauling ethanol deraile in Rockford, IL, and created a fireball that killed and injured members of an Illinois family

When the train derailed, much of the liquid fuel spilled and caught fire, creating a fireball that engulfed a car carrying several members of a family. The mother died from burn injuries, the father incurred second- and third-degree burns, and a daughter who was pregnant at the time lost her unborn child while also being burned.

As a railroad accident victim's attorney based in Virginia (VA) who has represented people hurt in derailment and rail crossing accidents, I congratulate Robert J. Bingle and Philip Harnett Corboy Jr. of Chicago for securing the largest part of the settlement -- $22.5 million for the mother's wrongful death. The plaintiff's lawyers successfully showed that Canadian National and its subsidiaries Illinois Central Railroad and Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad were "negligent in the operation, maintenance and supervision of the CNRC train and negligent in the maintenance and inspection of the CNRC railroad track."

I have also helped several families receive settlements from the people and corporations that caused the wrongful death of a loved one. While I realize that no amount of money can replace a mother, wife, child or sibling, I also know it is essential to hold negligent or careless parties accountable for the suffering they cause. I'm pleased to see that this has been done in Illinois.

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