U.S. District Court Judge Legrome Davis of Pennsylvania approved the settlement, believed to be among the largest of its kind, as there is a federal cap on damages that can be awarded for any single disaster, of $295 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, two court-appointed masters will review victims' claims, and Amtrak and its insurers must pay for eligible claims from the derailment to a court-supervised trust by Feb. 28, 2017.
In December 2015, following the Philadelphia Amtrak crash, Congress raised the damages cap for a single rail accident to $295 million from $200 million.
The Amtrak crash occurred in Philadelphia on May 12, 2015 when the train, with 243 people on board, entered a curve at more than twice the recommended 50 miles-per-hour (80 kph) speed limit and derailed, mangling one car and knocking two others on their sides, Rueters.com reported.
An investigation by The National Transportation Safety Board found that the engineer driving the train was likely distracted by radio traffic when the crash occurred. Had the track had been outfitted with a safety system, the tragedy could have been prevented.