Paralyzed Teen Sues Amtrak After Devastating Washington State Railroad Accident

railroad accident
Timmy Brodigan was an athletic teenager before the railroad accident that left him a spinal cord injury survivor. Brodigan was traveling on the inaugural run of Amtrak’s Point Defiance Bypass, a new route that was meant to cut ten minutes off of a trip through Washington state. However, on what was meant to be a celebratory journey in December of 2017, the train derailed, killing three people and injuring dozens of others. Now Brodigan has filed a lawsuit against Amtrak, as well as against Sound Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Brodigan has been a resident at Craig Hospital in Denver ever since the railroad accident that left him dependent upon a wheelchair. The facility is highly respected for its work with those recovering from spinal cord injuries like those that have left him immobile. He is working hard to regain movement, and though the work is taxing, a family representative says that he is determined.

Railroad Accident Blamed on Negligence

Timmy Brodigan’s attorney says that the railroad accident that broke his client’s neck represents negligence and that Amtrak and the other defendants need to be held accountable for his devastating injuries and damages. “He’d like his life back. He knows he’s not going to get that,” the attorney said. “He would have suffered a severe blow to his head because it crushed his C5 vertebrae… it literally exploded. Shards of that bone shot into a spinal cord and that’s what caused this profound spinal cord injury.”

According to an analysis of what happened during the railroad accident, the train should have been moving 30 miles per hour around the curve where it derailed, but instead, it was moving 80 miles an hour. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of rushing the train into service before it was ready, of failing to provide added protection in the form of Positive Train Control, and of failing to provide adequate training to the engineer who was operating the train. “His training was just horribly inadequate. I mean, he had one round trip on this line without supervision,” said the attorney. “For 20 seconds, his eyes are not on the track. He’s trying to figure out what this means, he looks up, he’s four seconds from the corner, it’s now too late, and his last words were ‘we’re dead.'”

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.