A Cook County jury awarded $29.5 million to a Chicago woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a derailment on 17 September 2005. The lawsuit was filed by Renea Poppel, who suffered “catastrophic brain damage, a broken neck and broken pelvis” when a Metra commuter train came off the line between Joliet and Chicago. Two passengers were killed and more than 100 injured.
Investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the driver failed to slow the train as it was negotiating a crossover. After a two-week trial, the jury awarded the money to cover past medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of normal life, and future damages she will suffer as a result of the injuries. The families of the two passengers who were killed settled their wrongful-death lawsuits for $11 million.