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Jury awards Amtrak train crash victim $10 million

Donnell Linton became the fifth person to be awarded monetary damages after suffering injuries in the 2017 train derailment near DuPont.

Amtrak will pay more than $10 million to one of the dozens of passengers injured in a train derailment near DuPont in 2017.

Donnell Linton suffered serious injuries and trauma when the train he was on derailed and plunged onto Interstate 5, killing three people.

Linton was awarded $10,094,668. He is the fifth person to be awarded monetary damages.

In November, a jury awarded $4.5 million to a Maple Valley woman injured in the crash. Three other people were previously awarded nearly $17 million.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation blamed inadequate training by Amtrak for the crash. The board published its final report on the crash, with the agency's vice chairman blasting what he described as a "Titanic-like complacency" among those charged with ensuring safe train operations. 

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In the findings, the NTSB said the engineer lost track of where he was and failed to slow down before a curve. The agency said a series of decisions or inactions by Amtrak as well as state and federal regulators set the engineer up to fail. The agency's vice chairman, Bruce Landsberg, wrote in comments published with the final report that the root cause was "extremely lax safety oversight, unclear responsibility, and poor training." 

The crash sparked a push urging the Federal Railroad Administration to require "positive train control," GPS-based technology that can automatically slow or stop trains. 

Days after a jury awarded the Maple Valley woman $4.5 million, the company rolled out its new policy to keep passengers from filing lawsuits.

Under Amtrak's new Arbitration Agreement, passengers can no longer sue the corporation for things like personal injuries, physical impairments, wrongful death, and a whole list of other claims. Instead, those claims will be decided by a single arbitrator, rather than by a judge or jury.


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