Most of the trains in Chicago and throughout the United States operate smoothly and safely. But when something goes wrong, it can become a tragic situation. When a car, bicyclist or pedestrian collides with a train, one or more people often incur serious or fatal injuries as a result. Train collisions can happen for a number of reasons, and many are due to the negligence of the train operators. But when someone is injured in a train accident, it is often difficult to determine the exact cause and who to pursue for damages. For this reason, accident victims should retain the counsel of an experienced Chicago train collisions lawyer with a strong track record of successful outcomes in such cases.
Vehicle-Train Collisions and Casualties
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers are 20 times more likely to be killed in a collision with a train than a collision with another vehicle. Thousands of these collisions occur each year (most of them at railroad crossings) resulting in hundreds of deaths. Operation Lifesaver has compiled data from the Federal Railroad Administration since 1981, and although it shows a drop in train collisions in recent years, the nation’s railroad crossings can still be very hazardous.
A train crash can happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Reckless Driving
- Vehicle Breakdown at a Rail Crossing
- Train Mechanical Failure
- Crossing Gate/Train Whistle Failure
- Improper Railroad Track Maintenance
- Rail Conductor Negligence
- Impaired Visibility at Crossing
- Train Derailment
Many of the scenarios leading to a train crash involve negligence on the part of the train company or the track owner. But because of the high potential for serious or deadly injuries, those who maintain and operate the trains need to be held accountable when something goes wrong so they will take further measures to ensure everyone’s safety.
A train derailment happens when part or all of a train runs off its tracks. In many cases, these derailments are minor and cause a small disruption in traffic and to the train’s schedule. However, in the less common scenario of a major derailment with several cars heading off the tracks, passengers can be injured or killed and the train can collide with nearby vehicles and pedestrians. Train derailments are less common than they used to be. In 1980, there were roughly 3000 derailments annually. Today, that number has dropped to 500. Still, all it takes is one major derailment to cause widespread damage and multiple serious injuries.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a train collision or derailment, do not fight this battle alone. The train companies and track owners have high priced lawyers that do everything possible to limit their liability in these cases. At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we have been helping our clients in Chicago, Cook County and throughout the nation secure damages for their injuries resulting from train crashes. We investigate the accident and identify all responsible parties so our clients receive full compensation. Contact a Chicago train collision attorney at HM&M today to set up a free consultation.