If I’m Injured in a Train Accident, Does it Matter Where the Accident Occurred?
Yes. It matters where the accident occurred because the location can reveal who is legally responsible for the consequences and what duties the responsible party had prior to the event.
It makes a difference where your train accident happened for several reasons. First, the railroad company could try to argue that you were trespassing on private property when you were hit by the train. Railroad tracks and the land they sit on are usually privately owned. In Illinois, landowners owe trespassers no duty except to not “willfully or wantonly” endanger them. If the property is unusually dangerous, then they owe trespassers the duty of reasonable and ordinary care. Of course, many areas on railroad property fit that description, so the company would not be off the hook.
Railroad defendants will often try to use evidence of your illegal trespass to argue that you were “contributorily negligent,” in which case your monetary recovery would be substantially reduced or completely eliminated. Without the skills of a dedicated legal practitioner, your case could evaporate before it begins as a result of this defense.
The Location of a Crossing Determines the Railroad’s Duties
Another reason location matters is that different areas along railroad tracks have different safety requirements. Crossings in or near busy, populated towns have statutorily mandated signals and other devices to protect pedestrians and vehicles, which must be kept in working order. On the other hand, secluded sections of track in desolate areas will not be equipped with the same protections, and persons attempting to cross them might be expected to use extra caution to ensure a train is not approaching. Therefore, your argument for why and how the railroad company was negligent must adapt to the circumstances surrounding the accident.
How Will I Know if the Rail Company was Responsible for my Injuries?
The key point to focus on is duty. What duty did the railroad or rail company owe you? Safe passage? A safe environment? Guarding you from injury? Rail companies owe you a variety of duties arising from their roles as common carriers, railroad operators, and station owners. However, just because you were injured on or near a train doesn’t mean they are automatically responsible for your harms. They will only be responsible if their failure to carry out a duty they owed you caused your injuries.
Have More Questions About Illinois Train Accidents?
If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a train, the experienced train accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can explain what recovery options are available to you and what you need to do to obtain them. Don’t delay—get started on the road to financial recovery today by calling us for a free case evaluation.