According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are about 5,800 train-car crashes each year in the country. Of these accidents, 600 people die and 2,300 are left injured. Train accidents are extremely tragic accidents due to the number of people that can be held in a train. They can cause mass destruction in the blink of an eye and leave a person disabled, paralyzed, or dead. These cases involve accidents between trains or accidents between one train and one car.
At Mike Agruss Law, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured from a train accident, contact our personal injury law office today for a free consultation.
What Causes Train Accidents?
Trains typically work on a meticulous schedule, moving from destination to destination at a specific speed so as to avoid any confusion or mistakes and make it to the next stop promptly and on schedule. On the occasion that an accident occurs on one’s train, they deserve to know the reason and who may be at fault in a lawsuit. Accidents may be due to the following reasons:
- A conductor may have failed to stop at a required signal
- Broken rails, wheels, tracks; various mechanical failures
- A switch was left in the incorrect position
- Negligence on the part of those controlling mass public transit train systems
- A train collides with another train
- Train crossings are left unprotected to cars or a car is stalled on the tracks
It is worth noting that Scientific American found that 94% of the 58,299 train accidents that occurred in the U.S. between 2001 and 2010 were train derailments, which do not cause serious injury or death.
The Common Carrier Law
Many trains are considered “common carriers” under Illinois statutes. The Common Carrier Liability Act (740 ILCD 25/) imposes the highest duty of care and safety for passengers in vehicles deemed to be common carriers. The statute defines a common carrier as, “a business that transports people, good, or services and offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body.” This includes the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, Amtrak, and more public transportation companies.
The standards and expectations for common carriers are very high, in terms of safety and caution in its employees’ duty as well as the equipment maintenance. If these standards are not completely met in some way (causing an accident), and especially if passengers are left injured or deceased, they would be violating the common carrier law and could be found liable for negligence.
Compensation For Your Damages
It may be difficult to determine who may be at fault when deciding to file a lawsuit for your injuries and suffering after such a traumatizing accident. However, with an experienced train accident attorney by your side and helping you navigate this process, we will help you find out the defendant that should be held liable for causing this accident. The train operator could be liable for their human error or recklessness, the driver of a vehicle that crashed into your train could be liable if they caused the crash, the railroad company could also be liable for failing to maintain and inspect the railroad tracks so that they are safe to use.
Illinois has a statute of limitations of two years, meaning that you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. In these tragic accidents, some damages that you can be awarded include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in normal life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
If you or a loved one has been injured from a train accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.