Train passengers, persons attempting to pass through a railroad crossing on foot or in a vehicle, and railroad workers are the most common victims of train accidents.
Millions of trains traverse the United States and millions of vehicles cross over railroad tracks every year. Hundreds of people lose their lives in train-related accidents annually, but even though that figure is less than the total number killed in auto accidents, train accidents are actually deadlier than car accidents when they happen: They are 40 times more likely to result in a fatality.
There are approximately one-quarter of a million highway-rail grade crossings in America. Many train accidents occur at these crossings and other pedestrian intersections, and Illinois is among the five states with the highest incidence of rail-crossing collisions—109 in 2018. One of the most disturbing statistics is that about half of all collisions between trains and vehicles nationwide happen at crossings with warning signals, according to Operation Lifesaver.
Train accidents, while not as commonplace as they once were, still happen quite often. They are also incredibly destructive: Hundreds of people die and thousands more are injured, millions of dollars are lost, and untold lives are permanently changed.
Here is a simple breakdown of who is normally injured in train accidents:
- Train passengers—Passengers are among the most common victims of accidents involving trains, particularly derailments, and they suffer some of the worst injuries. As common carriers, railroad companies have a special duty of care toward their passengers, under the rationale that passengers are placing their physical safety in the hands of the railroad.
- Train and railroad workers—The employees who work in and around trains and train tracks are frequent casualties of train accidents. Their injuries are usually covered by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) program. Compensation for the injured is usually better under FELA than under state workers’ comp benefits, but with the drawback that injured employees must prove fault on the part of the railroad and cannot receive compensation if they were responsible for their own injuries.
- Bystanders—These could include pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and their passengers who are injured while attempting to pass through intersections or railway crossings. These are among the most vulnerable train accident victims because of their defenselessness relative to a moving train.
Want to Learn More About Train Accidents in Illinois?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can explain all the ins and outs of train accident litigation in Illinois. We offer potential clients a free, no-obligation case evaluation and we can represent you on contingency, which means you don’t have to pay for our services unless we win your case. Call our offices today to learn how our experienced team of train accident attorneys can help you and your family recover financial health following an accident.