Chicago is one of the largest railroad hubs in the nation. It is estimated that roughly a quarter of all rail traffic in the United States passes through the Windy City. Because there are so many railroad crossings in the Chicago area, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians often become numb to the dangers these crossings may pose. But while some train crossing accidents are clearly due to reckless driving, many others are the fault of those who maintain and operate the trains.
Railroad crossing accidents can be tragic for those that are injured. Clearly, being struck by an oncoming train weighing thousands of pounds and traveling at a high speed can leave victims severely disabled (if they survive the accident at all). A Federal Railroad Administration analysis shows that there are well over 5,000 railroad-related accidents each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. However, when someone is injured in a train collision, it is often difficult to pin down who exactly is at fault. For example, there are cases when one company owns the trains while another owns the tracks and the accident involves multiple factors related to both. Because of the complications of these cases, it is important to have a Chicago railroad crossing accidents lawyer by your side to work through the case and make sure all at-fault parties are held responsible.
Why do Railroad Crossing Accidents Happen?
It is the responsibility of the train companies and the companies that own the tracks to ensure that everything is maintained and operating in a safe manner. But when something breaks down leading to accidents and injuries, it may very well be due negligence on the part of the companies responsible for maintaining the safety of the crossing. Some typical causes of train crossing accidents include:
- Crossing Gate/Warning Signal Malfunctions
- Train Whistle Malfunctions
- Impaired Visibility
- Speeding Trains
- Train Derailment at Crossing
If a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian happens to be at a crossing when one of these breakdowns occurs, it is not always easy to avoid the oncoming train. For example, if the crossing gate does not close and/or the whistle does not blow due to a malfunction, it may be difficult for a driver to see the train, especially if there is overgrown vegetation at the crossing that impairs the driver’s ability to see down the tracks.
If you have been injured in a railroad accident or someone close to you has been injured or killed as a result of a train company’s negligence, contact the law offices of Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. right away. For over 20 years, we have been representing victims of train crossing accidents in Chicago, Cook County and throughout the United States. Our team has vast experience navigating through the maze of potentially responsible parties and we fight hard to secure every dollar of compensation you deserve. Call us today at 312-553-4900 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago railroad crossing accident attorneys.