Crime & Justice

Settlement offered to Chatsworth Metrolink crash victims

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The two rail operators responsible for a deadly commuter train accident near Los Angeles two years ago have agreed to a $200 million settlement with victims. The settlement is the largest allowed under federal law.

Metrolink and Connex Railroad will pay for the crash that killed 25 people, including the engineers of a freight train and commuter train that collided head-on.

Investigators believe that Robert Sanchez, who was behind the controls of the Metrolink heavy rail commuter train, was texting and missed a light that told him to yield to the oncoming freight train. Connex employed Sanchez.

There are more than a hundred lawsuits, almost all involving passengers. The lawyer coordinating the lawsuits says there’s an upside to the proposed settlement – victims and their families can be compensated much faster. The downside is that they might receive less than a jury could award.

There’s no indication how much money each agency is putting toward the $200 million settlement that still needs a judge’s approval.