Despite trains being one of the safest forms of transportation and interstate commerce, when Chicago train accidents occur, they can be devastating and life-altering. The debilitating trauma affects passengers on board and commuters at the railroad crossing, impacting public safety where the accident occurred.
When train accidents occur, the physical repercussions leave many people injured with permanent and severe injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, preventing them from working and living everyday life.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyer, LLC
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have represented train accident victims for years. We understand the potential for catastrophic injury that train accidents may cause, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call our train accident attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation regarding your serious injuries.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with a Chicago train accident lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Chicago Train Accidents
The railroad system in the Chicago area serves as a strategic component for moving goods and people. Yet, train accidents are often the most dangerous and violent kind of transportation crash any individual can survive.
Just as with all modes of transportation, accidents happen, and human error, mechanical failure, and excessive speed can lead to a train crash that can cause serious injury and kill hundreds in a catastrophic event.
Railroad accidents injuring commuters and railroad workers involve passenger and freight trains, local commuter trains, such as Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation), METRA train (Metropolitan Rail), or CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) locomotives, and subway systems.
Rail Accident Statistics
Train crashes have caused hundreds of thousands of injuries and fatalities, despite the railroad’s responsibility to ensure safety at a crossing and on the train tracks –
- Statista states that in 2021, rail accidents and incidents totaled 9,251, with 5,731 injuries and 901 fatalities
- According to FRA (Federal Railroad Administration), US statistics for 2021 for train accidents at railroad crossings were – – 2,145 highway-rail grade crossing collisions – 234 crossing fatalities – 669 crossing injuries
- The Federal Railroad Administration reported that in 2017 the cost of damages in railroad accidents was more than $99 million
- Almost 50% of all injuries resulting from railroad accidents are from someone getting hit by a train
- Trespassing deaths occurred mainly on railroad tracks, railroad crossings, and walkways
- According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), since 1975, there has been an average of 1.3 train accidents per year involving fatalities, in comparison with 2,584 aviation accidents and 700 bus accidents over the same period
Railroad crossings are the most common places where accident victims suffer physical injuries despite crossing warning devices.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Railway Injuries Claim
The statute of limitations is the period in which injured victims are allowed to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for train accident claims in Illinois is two years.
Anyone who has been injured in a train accident can file a lawsuit. You do not need to be a passenger on the train or a railroad worker to file a claim.
Our experienced train accident lawyers litigate railroad accident cases such as train derailment accidents, accidents on railway crossings, accidents on railroad tracks, and train equipment failure or malfunction accidents.
Railroad Accident Settlements Using Chicago Train Accident Attorneys
Should private individuals suffer serious injury in an accident, railway accident attorneys will negotiate a settlement with the rail company for financial recovery for medical bills, lost wages, and future medical expenses.
Train employees, such as train operators and railroad workers injured on the job, can file FELA (Federal Employers Liability Act) claims if they can show employer negligence, especially if serious injuries are involved. These typically multi-million-dollar settlements are tax-free.
However, if railroad companies file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they won’t have to pay anything, even if an employee wins the case.
Recent Accidents and Settlements
- In May 2017, a Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) worker at O’Hare International Airport, injured in a CTA Blue Line derailment, agreed to a $6.5 million settlement. Her injuries were so severe that she required around-the-clock care and could no longer work.
- In December 2021, an elderly man was struck and killed in an Amtrak accident at noon when his vehicle obstructed the tracks at a rail crossing in Haverhill, Massachusetts. When the fatal crash occurred, the train heading out of New York City was heading toward Brunswick, Maine.
- In February 2017, a Metrolink train conductor who lost his leg in a commuter train accident reached a $5.5 million settlement with Union Pacific Railroad.
- In 2019 An Amtrak train traveling from New York City derailed, leaving passengers injured while heading south to Miami. The collision with a freight train traveling through South Carolina claimed the lives of two people and injured more than 100 victims. Settlements for the accident have not yet been reached.
- In January 2018, a garbage truck stuck on the railroad collided with an Amtrak train traveling southbound from Washington, DC, into Virginia. The Amtrak accident claimed one life and injured six more.
- In 2018, a Metro-North train involved in a collision in The Bronx, New York City, traveled 82 mph while taking a tight curve. The commuter train accident resulted in three fatalities and over 100 injuries.
Filing FELA Claims: The Railroad Employees Workers’ Compensation Program with Chicago Train Accident Lawyers
The Federal Employer’s Liability Act, or FELA, is a law that provides benefits to injured railroad workers. Applicants for FELA claims could include workers injured in a train collision and those who suffered from an illness caused by their work.
To be eligible for benefits in FELA claims, you must be employed by a railroad company and meet certain other requirements. You must also file a claim within three years of the date of the injury or illness.
Federally Regulated Workers’ Compensation for Rail Workers
Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated program that benefits employees injured or ill due to their job. Benefits can include medical expenses, income replacement, and death benefits.
FELA is a federal law that provides similar benefits to workers’ compensation for railroad worker injuries. However, there are some essential differences between FELA and workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation is available to all employees in most states, while FELA is only for railroad employees. FELA rules are also more relaxed than workers’ compensation, making it easier for employees to receive much-needed health and financial benefits.
If you are injured in a train wreck, you may be able to file a claim under both FELA and workers’ compensation. Speak to experienced Chicago train accident lawyers to determine which program will offer the best compensation for you.
Chicago Train Accident Lawyer
Federal and state laws governing a railway accident can be highly complicated. It often takes an experienced Chicago railroad accident lawyer to thoroughly investigate the crash to determine all responsible parties that can be held liable for operator negligence or faulty equipment.
Liability might involve the following defendants –
- Rail company
- Train operator
- Locomotive designer
- Railcar manufacturers or others
State and federal government agencies determine different laws for filing for financial compensation, depending on whether the injury or damage you suffered was from a local commuter or a national common carrier railroad system.
In addition, railroad workers injured in a train crash must file for financial compensation through other means than passengers or motorists.
Train accident victims can contact an experienced Chicago train accident lawyer for a free consultation regarding a personal injury lawsuit. Our Chicago train accident attorneys successfully resolve train accident cases with the railroad company and other negligent parties.
Common Train Accidents
When train operators travel faster than the posted speed limit, the accidents make national headlines, yet dozens of other devastating train accidents do not make the news.
The most common type of train accidents involving Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), METRA trains, and Amtrak include –
- Freight and passenger trains colliding with an oncoming train
- Trains hitting stalled train cars or motor vehicles on the track
- Train derailments caused by hitting objects, faulty mechanical parts, or traveling across defective tracks
- Trains colliding with motor vehicles, commercial trucks, other vehicles, and motorcycles
- Trains hitting pedestrians at a railroad crossing or trespassers on tracks
Causes of Train Accidents
Railroad companies are responsible for public safety as they transport passengers and cargo.
For this reason, determining the causes of train accidents can often lead to an intense investigation of the train company.
It is crucial to find out why the accident occurred and bring all negligent parties to justice. The following factors contribute to many train accidents –
- High speeds
- Train derailment
- Weather conditions
- Unprotected railroad crossings
- Operator/driver distraction or negligence
- Human error
- Trespassers on tracks
- Mechanical failures of train equipment
- Defective tracks
- Stationary rail cars
- Inadequate maintenance on tracks and transportation equipment
- Mechanical failures of crossing equipment, i.e., faulty signals or crossing arms
- Railroad negligence
Injured passengers can contact our professional attorneys for a free consultation regarding financial compensation for their personal injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering in train accident cases. We can hold the railroad company liable for their negligence.
Damages Victims Can Claim for Compensation
When a victim has sustained injuries or other damages, they can file for financial compensation from the railroad companies who own the train involved in the accident.
Two types of damages can be awarded:
- Economic damages are financial compensation for verifiable monetary losses such as past and future medical costs, loss of past and future earnings, loss of use of property, costs of repair or replacement and loss of employment or business opportunities
- Non-economic damages are financial recovery for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life
Speak to an experienced lawyer from our legal team to assist you with legal counsel regarding your railroad accident claim or wrongful death case. We are committed to ensuring that you receive the full and fair compensation from railroad companies you deserve.
Hiring a Chicago Railroad Injuries Attorney to Prosecute an Accident Lawsuit
The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, have successfully represented many victims of severe train accidents who have been severely injured or lost family members in a transportation fatality.
Our experienced railroad accident attorneys are familiar with the legal obligations that the law places on common carriers within each state and are committed to holding the railroad industry and other negligent parties liable for compensation.
Contact a train injuries lawyer from our Chicago office today at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your case and compensation for lost income, medical bills, pain, and suffering.
Contingency Fee Agreement
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC accept all serious personal injury claims and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee agreement.
This arrangement immediately ensures our clients have legal representation without paying any upfront out-of-pocket expenses.
Our law firm advances all expenses in resolving accident claims and only gets paid when negotiating a settlement or winning a jury trial award. Our “No-Win/No-Fee” guarantee is simple: We do not get paid if you do not win!
We serve the following localities: Cook County, Chicago area, Lake County, Macon County, Peoria County, Sangamon County, Will County, and Winnebago County.