A Minnesota trial court judge has found that BNSF committed misconduct in connection with its investigation of a wrongful death suit arising from a railroad grade crossing train accident in which one of its locomotives hit a car with four young people in it, killing all of them. The misconduct involved BNSF’s failure to preserve electgronic data relating to the operation of the train and the crossing signals. The trial judge referred to the breadth of the railroad’s misconduct as “staggering”. The families of the four victims were awarded a total of $26 million, including more than $4 million in punitive damages.As an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer, the thing I recommend to anyone who has been involved in an accident with a defendant that has exclusive control over the injury causing devices is that they promptly hire well-qualified counsel. Attorneys who are familiar with this type of litigation know how to move quickly to investigate the accident and preserve key pieces of evidence and not rely upon a future adversary in litigation to do the right thing and preserve evidence that points to their guilt. Hard-won experience has taught that this is often not the case.