The Metra commuter rail system is one of the largest of its kind in the country; serving the entire Chicago metropolitan area. The Metra has 241 stations encompassing over 100 communities with 11 different rail lines connecting passengers to downtown Chicago. The Metra is operated by the Metropolitan Rail Corporation, a division of the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and serves upwards of 80 million passengers annually. Though the trains normally run smoothly, Metra accidents do happen, and some of them have been deadly.
When a Metra train accident occurs that involves injuries, it can be difficult for the injured parties to deal with the RTA. Many times, the RTA is not helpful in getting to the bottom of what caused the accident and who is at fault. Rather than helping victims secure the compensation they may be entitled to, victims often are given the “run around” and want to give up in frustration. If you have been injured in an accident involving one of the Metra trains, do not deal with the RTA alone. Consult a Chicago Metra accidents attorney that can help you navigate through their bureaucracy and secure the settlement you deserve.
Common Causes of Metra Train Accidents
With such a large commuter rail system transporting millions of passengers every year, there are a lot of ‘moving parts’ involved in making the trains run smoothly and on time. With tens of thousands of commuters counting on Metra to get them where they are going, there is enormous pressure to keep everything on schedule. Often, one breakdown can cause a ripple effect, leading to accidents with serious (and sometimes fatal) injuries. Here are some of the common reasons for Metra accidents:
- Inadequate/Undertrained Staffing: With so many employed by Metra, there is almost always a high turnover rate within their work force. This leads to times when the system is understaffed or the current staff is relatively new. These situations can lead to major mistakes under pressure.
- Equipment Breakdown: There are times when the train safety equipment breaks down due to lack of proper maintenance. Along these same lines, parts of the track may also become faulty because of a failure to properly maintain them.
- Drunk or Distracted Engineers: Most engineers are highly focused and do a great job keeping the trains operating safely. But there are those few that come to work intoxicated or are just not paying close enough attention to what they are doing.
- Speeding: When something causes the trains to get behind schedule, some conductors feel compelled to speed up and operate the train in a reckless manner to catch up.
With all accidents on Metra, it is important that a thorough investigation be conducted to determine the cause and who is responsible for damages and injuries. At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we have over 20 years of experience representing victims of Metra train accidents in Chicago, Cook County, Will County, Lake County, DuPage County, McHenry County, Kane County and communities throughout the Chicago area. Our Chicago Metra accident lawyers work with investigators to identify the root cause of the accident and ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable. If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury involving one of the Metra trains, contact our office today for your free consultation.