Norfolk Southern

Graniteville, SC: (Jun-25-07) A series of class action lawsuits were filed against railroad owner Norfolk Southern, following the train derailment that released a toxic cloud of chlorine gas over the town of Graniteville. The class included a poll of nearly 480 people who claimed they suffered serious injuries after the crash. Nine people died and hundreds were injured on January 6, 2005, after a Norfolk Southern train veered off the main track onto a spur after a switch was not turned. The train hit parked cars on the spur, rupturing a tanker carrying chlorine, which released a poisonous cloud of gas over the tiny mill town. Nearly 5,400 people living within a mile of the wreck were evacuated for a week.

In a settlement reached, more than $10.5 million has been offered to 180 of those claimants and 104 of them have already received about $4.1 million. The agreement will give people who sought medical attention within three months of the derailment anywhere from $10,000 up to several hundred thousand dollars, depending on a number of factors including the severity of their injuries, how close they lived to the derailment, and why they were exposed to the gas. There are still several dozen independent lawsuits pending against Norfolk Southern, at various stages of litigation. [FORBES: TRAIN DERAILMENT SETTLEMENT]

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