Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo[/caption] Millions of people rely on trains to travel in and around Chicago. While train travel is generally safe, occasionally train derailments and other accidents happen, oftentimes with catastrophic results. For instance, last month, a train accident near Philadelphia killed seven people and injured hundreds more passengers. Train accidents – including derailments, crashes with other trains or vehicles, and pedestrian injuries at railroad crossings – can be caused by a number of reasons, such as conductor error, railway negligence, mechanical failure, a distracted pedestrian, a negligent motorists, or an obstruction on the tracks. Determining the specific cause of the accident is instrumental to the assessment of liability for any damages, injuries, or fatalities. Possible sources of liability include:
- Railroad company
- Government agency responsible for maintaining tracks
- Negligent motorist
Because railroad companies and commuter rail lines, such as CTA and Metra, are considered common carriers, they are required to use the highest standard of care in the operation and maintenance of their trains. Moreover, in many situations the railroad company or commuter rail line can be held liable for the actions of their employees, which means that if the conductor is negligent, the employer may also be liable. If a passenger or motorist is injured in a train accident while he or she is on the job, the injured party may also be entitled to workers’ compensation. If, however, the injured worker is a railroad employer who is injured on the job, he or she may be able to pursue a claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). Pursuant to FELA, railroad companies must provide a reasonably safe work environment, enforce safety rules, conduct inspections, and offer adequate training and supervision, among other safety precautions. In order to recover for a worker injury under FELA, the injured worker must prove that the railroad’s actions or inactions caused or partially caused the injury. Because train accident claims are incredibly complex, with multiple sources of liability, it is important to consult with an accident attorney who understands the complexities involved with these types of cases. The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish focus on handling complex accident and injury lawsuits. We are dedicated to holding negligent parties liable and obtaining the maximum money damages possible, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, and emotional distress. There are strict statutes of limitations on when a claim can be filed so it is important to act quickly to protect your rights and preserve the necessary evidence. If you or a loved one were involved in a train accident, contact our office at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about a possible personal injury claim. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.