Train / Railroad Accidents
As the largest rail hub in the United States, trains are unquestionably part life in Chicago. More than a trillion pounds of freight move through the city on rail lines each year, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission and rail lines are also an important way for people get in, out, and around Chicago, Additionally, commuters use Metra and CTA train systems to get to work or to see Chicago’s numerous attractions.
With more than 10,000 places where public highways meet rail lines in Illinois, including several in the Chicago area — there are a lot of opportunities for cars and trains to collide, or for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to get hurt when trains derail.
At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our experienced Chicago train and railroad accident lawyers understand how devastating these types of accidents can be and we are prepared to help rebuild your life. We are committed to providing compassionate and effective legal representation so you can determine the next best steps after a train accident.
Common Types of Train Accidents
Trains are massive and heavy machines, especially when the cars are fully loaded. According to current train & railroad accident statistics, even at low speeds, a crash involving a train and a car, cyclist or pedestrian can result in horrific or even fatal injuries. It’s also not uncommon for people involved in accidents with trains to lose limbs or suffer major head trauma. Injuries can take weeks or months to heal — or cause permanent damage, including paralysis or impaired brain function. The costs associated with these kinds of injuries can be astronomical for the average family.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that most accidents in which someone is hurt or killed happen at railroad crossings. That could mean a signal was faulty or there were inadequate safety controls, or the train conductor was distracted, negligent or just inexperienced. It’s also possible that the driver of a car got impatient and tried to go around the crossing gate, thinking he or she could beat the train.
Some of the most common types of train accidents include:
- Train Derailment
- Train vs. Pedestrian Accidents
- Railroad Crossing Accidents
- Train Collisions
- Commuter Train Accidents
- Amtrak Accidents
- Operator Negligence
- Mechanical Failures
- Cargo Spills
- Railroad Company Negligence
Passengers and bystanders can find themselves seriously injured in a train or railroad accident in any number of ways. Whether your injuries were caused by improper maintenance, mechanical failure, or if the train was too heavy for the track, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney, who can properly assess your situation and help obtain the compensation you need to properly recover from:
Who is Liable in a Railroad Accident
Train accidents often require complex investigations to figure out exactly what happened. Typically when a train derails or is involved in a collision, a government safety agency will step in and perform an investigation. If you were injured in a train accident, you should keep in mind that a skilled personal injury lawyer can commission an independent investigation and will have the necessary resources to gather the information and documents you’ll need to pursue a claim for compensation.
Depending upon the results of the investigation, you may be able to pursue a claim against the owners of the rail line or the company or agency operating the train. Often those are different entities with different responsibilities in terms of maintaining the tracks and ensuring the train is operated appropriately. There may be some combination of negligence that means you have to submit claims to multiple insurance policies or file a lawsuit against multiple parties.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Given the complexity of claims stemming from train accidents, your best chance at recovering damages is to seek the help of a personal injury or wrongful death attorney with experience handling these kinds of cases. With the help of a knowledgeable and capable train accident attorney, you may be able to recover compensation for damages including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of normal life
- Disability or disfigurement
A qualified railroad accident lawyer will understand the legal and logistical nuances of pursuing these kinds of cases, what kind of evidence you’ll need, how to negotiate with numerous parties, or how to file a lawsuit that may involve numerous parties in numerous states.