Seattle Personal Injury Attorneys Secure Settlement for Veteran in 2017 Amtrak Train Derailment
SEATTLE – A local duo of personal injury attorneys has secured a monumental settlement for a veteran and victim of the deadly 2017 Amtrak Cascades train crash derailment in which the engineer was traveling more than twice the speed limit from Seattle to Portland, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.
Hagens Berman attorneys Anthony Shapiro and Martin McLean represent a former Air Force military police officer who on Dec. 18, 2017, was traveling along Interstate 5, coming from SeaTac airport where she had just dropped off her sister. As the Amtrak train derailed on the train overpass above Interstate 5, one of the cars landed partially on top of her vehicle, falling directly into her lane of traffic.
“Our client survived an unimaginably traumatic experience that left her bedridden for six months, with the fear she would never walk again,” said Anthony Shapiro, attorney representing the veteran against Amtrak. “While her life has changed forever due to this catastrophic event, we are incredibly proud to have secured a settlement on her behalf that will bring her lifelong security and will undoubtedly care for her for the rest of her life.”
“Our nation’s veterans deserve the best legal representation,” Shapiro added. “In representing our veterans, we honor their service, and we are in turn honored they choose us when faced with unmanageable, traumatic injuries.”
The 2017 Amtrak Cascades Train Derailment
The crash took place during the inaugural passenger trip on the newly renovated Nisqually-Tacoma bypass route. Three were killed and more than 60 injured during the derailment. The Amtrak Cascades train was traveling 78 miles an hour; the speed limit at the sharp curve where the derailment occurred is 30 miles an hour.
The young officer was extracted from the vehicle and transported to MultiCare Allenmore Hospital where she was diagnosed with multiple fractures of her spine and foot, as well as countless abrasions to her face, torso and legs. She also suffered a traumatic nasal fracture resulting in a deviation of her septum. She was emergency transported to St. Joseph's Hospital Trauma Center where she underwent surgery on her spine. Doctors were worried she would never walk again.
She then underwent months of physical therapy and subsequent surgery. She was bedridden for six months, and was only able to walk again nine months after the crash.
“Due to her injuries, she was prevented from training with her unit, and because of the extensive surgical hardware in her spine and the weight bearing limitations imposed by her physicians, she was not permitted to wear a bulletproof vest, required equipment for military police officers,” Shapiro said.
Because of these limitations, she was medically discharged from the United States Air Force due to her inability to physically perform her duties, forced to give up her long-held dream of serving her country and eventually becoming a civilian police officer.
“As she tries to find her next focus in life after this life-altering event, we are immensely gratified to have achieved a settlement that will provide for her needs for the remainder of her life and give her peace of mind,” Shapiro said. The settlement achieved was more than five times what the veteran’s prior attorneys had stated she should expect to recover. “We also thank and appreciate Amtrak for being willing to discuss solving this matter for our client in a fruitful way. This case has been a rare instance in which every party feels that something productive has happened.”
Attorneys Supporting Veterans
Hagens Berman’s attorneys have handled numerous sizable personal injury lawsuits on behalf of veterans in the Pacific Northwest and have a longstanding relationship of serving those who have served our country.
“It’s unconscionable to imagine – that anyone would seek to take advantage of our nation’s veterans, especially after they have survived a catastrophic injury, but sadly that’s the case many of our war heroes find themselves in after returning from service,” Shapiro said. “We are grateful that those who find themselves in these circumstances choose Hagens Berman to represent them to get the best results.”
The firm also represents a veteran who was hit and paralyzed by the driver of a rental car while riding his motorcycle in another Washington state case. The driver was from Saudi Arabia and has since left the country.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 10 offices globally. Hagens Berman UK LLP is headquartered in London. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.