Results We Have Obtained for Past Clients
$8,000,000 for Past & Future Damages
Train Accident Injury Victim
On December 18, 2017, our client, Emily T, was a 20 year old Sophomore at the University of Washington returning home to southern Washington to enjoy the holidays with her family. She loved trains and was thrilled to learn she was on the inaugural run of the new route shortening the trip towards Portland. Amtrak designed the new run incorporating a steep hill followed by a sharp curve. Engineers were supposed to be trained to slow the train from 80 mph to 30 mph to negotiate the turn. However, Amtrak failed to properly train the crews. As a result the train hit the curve at 78 mph causing the train to fly off the bridge resulting in an awful wreck.
Emily was knocked out. When she awoke she found herself trapped in the wreckage unsure if she lost her legs or if she would live. She survived escaping with a concussion and a fractured clavicle. She was considered to be lucky. However, like many others she had life altering ‘hidden’ injures: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a Minor Traumatic Brian Injury (MTBI or Post Concussion Syndrome). Utilizing advanced technology, the trial team was able to show the jury the results of an imaging study called a DTI. The results, read by a Neurosurgeon specializing in nerve imaging, showed evidence of brain injury in the same areas which were found to be deficient in neuropsychological testing. Those two results were consistent with Emily’s subjective symptoms. Her PTSD and sequelea of her MTBI persist to this day. Despite the obstacles, Emily. fought to stay in school and was able to graduate with a triple major. She is, by all measures, very impressive.
Amtrak defended the case arguing that since she has been successful in school and has a job, her injuries can’t be too bad. Before trial Amtrak assumed that a jury would not compensate for similar hidden injuries. The trial team decided not to include any request for economic damages - wage loss, future medical expenses - because they were too speculative. This allowed the jury to focus on the emotional and cognitive issues. The jury understood that success does not mean that the individual does not have the emotional consequences of PTSD or TBI. Emily was awarded $2,500,000 for her past damages and $5,500,000 for her future damages.
Emily was represented at trial by Anthony Petru and Scott Levy of Hildebrand, McLeod & Nelson LLP. Joe Grube of Grube Orehoski PLLC also represents Emily.