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Illinois Train Accident FAQ's

Illinois Train Accident FAQ's Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with severe injuries suffered in accidents such as railroad accidents and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has collected a series of train accident FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of injuries and fatalities involving train crashes and railway crossing accidents. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.

Train Accident FAQs

The nation's intricate network of railroad tracks and trains meanders through rural environments and populated urban areas. Unfortunately, statistics reveal that at least one train derailment or railroad collision occurs every fifteen minutes in the United States. Many of these accidents involve severe injuries and fatalities when moving trains collide with passenger vehicles, buses, some a tractor-trailers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Our team of train accident injury attorneys have compiled a comprehensive list of the most common frequently asked questions involving railway crashes and posted the answers below. Many victims and surviving family members use this information to make an informed decision about taking legal action against the railway company for justice and obtain financial compensation.

My loved one was involved in a train accident. What can our family do now?

First, call 911 to ensure the law enforcement and EMT (Emergency Medical Technicians) paramedics arrive at the scene quickly. The victim must receive immediate medical attention. If possible, family members or friends should take photographs and witness statements from the accident scene. Preserving evidence before the railway system restores the area could be critical to proving your case in court.

I was injured in the light rail transit accident as a pedestrian. Can I sue?

Most definitely. The light rail system has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all passengers and pedestrians so that the public is protected while the vehicle is in transit, at pickup sites, and near crossings. The light rail vehicle system must safeguard every pedestrian who approaches or departs from the train.

However, to ensure a successful resolution to your lawsuit, you will be required to demonstrate that the light rail system was aware that individuals frequently cross at that location but failed to protect you. Additionally, if the train operator's negligence resulted in injuries or death of anyone, including a pedestrian, the victim or surviving family members have the legal right to sue.

My injuries occurred while I was employed in with the railway system. Can I sue?

Yes. As a railroad employee, you have legal protection under the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) that provides you with a legal remedy that has certain limited exceptions for suing your employer for negligence.

I was a passenger when my train accident injuries occurred. What are my rights to sue?

Trains or the light rail system are common carriers and must follow federal and state regulations including providing the highest standards of safety for passengers. If you or your attorney can prove that the railway system failed in their duty to protect you while boarding, riding or departing on the train, you can file a claim for compensation.

What are the duties and responsibilities of the train crew when approaching crossings?

Freight and passenger train crews including the light rail transit system are legally obligated to ensure the safety and protection of the public crossing the railroad tracks. The engineer, conductor, and brakeman must control the train and maintain a practical lookout when approaching and passing through public railway crossings. The responsibilities might necessitate the slowing of the train during dangerous conditions including inclement weather involving blowing snow, downpours, fog, or any other condition that limits their visibility.

Who regulates the railroad system?

The US Federal NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) works as an independent agency and is provided legal jurisdiction over railway system train crashes. The agency releases and maintains many safety recommendations that focus on preventing accidents involving trains, railroad tracks and crossings. The federal agency routinely releases the results of studies involving transportation safety problems concerning the national railway system.

Do train accidents commonly occur in Illinois?

Yes. According to the Federal Railroad Administration under the Office of Safety Analysis, in 2015, there were 841 accidents and incidents involving train crashes and collisions that resulted in 38 fatalities. This number includes 141 train accidents that occurred in areas other than a marked crossing and 96 derailments. According to the statistics concerning Illinois, 34% of the accidents involve human factors, more than 8% involved equipment defects, 27% involved train defects and 3% involved defective signals.

Why does the FBI sometimes investigate train accidents?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation might be called in to investigate a train accident to determine if an intentional criminal act, terrorism or sabotage contributed to the crash. However, the FBI rarely assumes jurisdiction over the case unless the investigation uncovers criminal activity that caused the collision.

I never heard or saw the train coming before the collision. Can I still file a legal lawsuit?

Trains colliding with motor vehicles are common problems in America and often occur because the railway crossing signal never warned drivers, passengers, and cyclists of the approaching train. Other times, the signal tripped too late, or the driver never heeded the signaling alert at the railroad crossing. Alternatively, the accident could be the result of a train derailment or a head-on collision with the back of a part train or approaching train.

I want to file a lawsuit for my train accident injuries. How can I prove negligence?

Illinois civil tort law involving train accidents is complex and resolving a claim for compensation is often complicated. Because of that, many individuals will hire train accident attorneys to handle their case. A lawyer working on your behalf can identify specific facts and evidence to support your lawsuit. Their duties as your attorneys will require identifying every party at fault for causing the crash and your injuries. To successfully resolve your claim, your attorney will need to provide evidence proving that four elements existed in your accident. These elements include:

  • Duty of Care – The railroad company, train operator, conductor, mechanics and brakeman have a duty of care to protect the public and passengers while operating, owning, or repairing the train. This duty includes maintaining the equipment, conducting routine inspections, maintaining the railway track, and never running a train or light rail vehicle while distracted or impaired with drugs or alcohol. The railroad company has a legal responsibility to ensure that every employee receives the proper training required to perform their job duties safely.

  • Breach of Duty – If your attorney can prove that the defendants in the case failed to uphold their responsibilities and breached their duty of care, the court system will likely hold the defendants responsible for your injuries.

  • Causation – Your attorney must prove a direct link exists between the negligence of the railroad company, subcontractors or employees that caused the accident, which resulted in your injuries. If your attorney can demonstrate in court or at a negotiated settlement meeting that the breach of duty by any employee, owner or operator of the railway system caused your accident, you can likely obtain financial compensation for your subsequent injuries.

  • Actual Damages – Your attorney must prove the correlation between the event and the damages you have suffered. Typically, this proof is provided to the court system or insurance carrier who are given a comprehensive list of your hospitalization costs, medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wage statements, and the testimony of expert witnesses hired by your attorney to show your future damages including additional surgeries, temporary or permanent disabilities, and the loss of future earnings.

What action is required to file a claim for compensation?

To successfully resolve your claim for compensation after being involved in a train accident, it is crucial to file your lawsuit as soon as possible. However, the process is complicated and often requires the experienced personal injury attorneys who specialize in Illinois train accidents. Our lawyers can investigate the crash, gather eyewitness accounts, and file the necessary paperwork and documentation in the appropriate county courthouse before the statute of limitations on your case expires.

What types of negligence are known to cause the most train accidents?

The train accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have represented hundreds of clients who were injured in train collisions. Most of these claims and lawsuits were based on a range of factors that include:

  • A derailment that occurred on a speeding train or a defective track

  • Slip, trip or fall on a wet surface

  • Electrical shock or electrocution

  • Physical or sexual assault

  • Faulty gate

  • Hazardous cargo

  • Improperly loaded cars, merchandise, and freight

  • Brake failure caused by a defective component or a lack of maintenance

  • Derailment

What defendants can I add to my lawsuit or compensation claim?

Our attorneys will investigate every aspect of the crash, collision or train accident to determine who will be a part of the lawsuit for compensation. Our investigators can determine if the crash was the result of a safety device defect, vehicle malfunction, impaired or distracted train operator or other problem that could have prevented the collision. Possible defendants in your lawsuit could include:

  • The train operator
  • The train car or engine manufacturer
  • Property owners
  • The railroad company
  • Railway maintenance crews
  • Government agencies

What type of compensation can I expect to recover?

If your loved one was injured in a train accident, you are likely able to file a claim for financial recovery for all past, ongoing and future medical bills, lost wages, the loss of future earning capacity, other physical damages and non-tangible damages including pain, suffering, mental anxiety, grief, funeral expenses and burial costs.

Our law firm will ensure that you receive adequate financial compensation to restore the quality of life that you enjoyed before the accident. If you lost a loved one, you could seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

How much is my case worth?

The evidence and circumstances are unique in your case, which can make it difficult to determine the value of your claim for compensation. Our attorneys use of proven formulas and the results of previously resolved train accident cases that are similar to yours to determine how much you could obtain during the resolution of your lawsuit.

How much will you charge to review my case?

Our law firm provides every potential client a no-obligation, initial case consultation at no charge. Call our law offices today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule an appointment. Let our team of attorneys discuss your case, listen to your complaints, and provide numerous legal options on how to ensure your family receives the financial compensation they deserve.

I have no savings because of my injuries. How can I afford to hire an attorney?

The train accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC accept all compensation cases through contingency fee arrangements. This agreement allows payment of your legal fees to be postponed until after your attorney has successfully resolved your case at trial or through a negotiated out of court settlement.

In addition, we provide a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure any financial compensation through a negotiated settlement or a jury trial award, you owe us nothing. Contact us now so we can begin working on your case today. All information you share with our law office remains confidential.

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