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Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster Victims Awarded $200 Million

January 13, 2015 — The victims of a Canadian railroad disaster were awarded $200 million from with the now-bankrupt rail company, but the town’s mayor says that is only a fraction of what is needed, according to the Montreal Gazette.

The disaster occurred in July 2013 and involved a crude oil tanker car that derailed while passing through the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, population 6,000.

The accident set off several massive explosions that leveled a large section of the downtown core and killed 48 people. Most of the victims were at the Musi-Café, which was destroyed.

The oil was being transported in a DOT-111 tanker, which were known to rupture during derailments since safety studies were published in the early 1990s. The rail company was accused of negligence for using the flawed tanker car.

As the settlement currently stands, only about $50 million is being paid out to families of those who died, working out to about $1 million per family. Another $19 million has been tagged for people with bodily injuries and $29 million for property damage. The government is taking a 52% cut of the payout, but that could change if the settlement increases.

Lawyers are hoping the settlement will be “significantly higher” before it is approved. Robert Keach, the appointed trustee for the bankruptcy of Montreal Maine and Atlantic Canada Ltd. (MMA), said:

“Due to the diligence and respect by all parties associated with this plan in Canada and the United States, we have put forward a favorable resolution. With continued diligence by all parties, the settlement amount will be significantly higher.”

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