Chicago is a city of more than 2.7 million people spread out across more than 77 communities, containing numerous neighborhoods. From Rogers Park to Chinatown, from Humboldt Park to the Loop, Chicago is constantly moving. The roads are filled with cars, bikes, and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses; the sidewalks are full of pedestrians; and the many CTA “L” lines run overhead.
With the number of moving parts and people in Chicago, it’s no wonder that sometimes accidents occur and people get hurt. The more than 1,888 busses and 1,492 rail cars can’t escape the occasional human error or mechanical issue.
A couple times a year, the CTA suffers a derailment on one of the eight L routes. In many cases, the derailment is scarier than it is harmful to the passengers on board. Some passengers will suffer bruises, cuts, and concussions.
However, derailments can be serious. Consider the Blue Line crash at O’Hare in 2014. The CTA Blue Line takes passengers into the heart of the international airport, but the L operator fell asleep, allowing the train to slam into the end of the railway and into an escalator. No one was seriously injured due to it being early morning, but the potential for injuries and fatalities was shocking.
At times, people fall onto the train tracks or jump down to retrieve things they dropped. These people often get hurt because they misjudge the speed of the train and how much time they have to climb back onto the platform.
Additionally, despite being an elevated train, the L actually moves down to street level in a few places around the city. The Blue Line travels at the same level as the highway for many miles, and the Brown Line is at street level toward the end of its northern route. These stops are just as busy as the elevated platforms, and sometimes people walk across the tracks despite the gates being down and are struck by a train.
Auto accidents happen every day and CTA buses aren’t immune. While CTA drivers are trained and well-versed in travelling the city’s streets, they can make mistakes. CTA accidents can also occur when pedestrians or other vehicles are at fault.
Unfortunately, the size of the buses can make auto accidents more harmful than if they occurred between two cars. A bus traveling at even 30 mph has the ability to cause a lot of damage to property and people.
The CTA responded to a fatality last June by saying it will re-evaluate downtown bus routes that operate during heavy congestion and look into additional training for drivers. The new plan includes more training days for new drivers, in-field-instruction, and route-specific instruction as well as additional ride-along evaluations.
If you were hurt in an accident involving the CTA, contact a Chicago attorney right away. Many personal injury or wrongful death issues go to court when they involve a public transportation system, and you’ll want an experienced attorney by your side when negotiating or suing a major entity like the CTA. You can guarantee the CTA will have its own lawyers to defend it, and you should have your own lawyer fiercely advocating for your rights.