Articles Posted in Train Accident

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Train safety is a serious issue and not one to be treated lightly. Many people in the Chicagoland area rely on trains for their day-to-day traveling, including the CTA el and Metra commuter train. While the trains are a great mode of transportation that are convenient and affordable, we must always remember that these are still giant vehicles that move at very high speeds, and thus should use caution when around them, getting on and off trains, and waiting at train platforms.

According to a recent article by Patch, a commuter was struck by a Metra train near Lisle. Police relayed it is unclear whether this was an accident or an incident of self-harm. The incident occurred in the late afternoon, when a train and pedestrian collided. The train, Inbound No. 1272, hit the person east of the Lisle station.

Operation Lifesaver stresses that not only is it illegal to walk on tracks, it can save your life and keep you from danger. While commuter trains may have a schedule, they can be early or late, so regardless of a posted schedule, stay away from tracks except for designated crossings. Be sure that it is safe to cross and that a conductor or track signal gives you the go-ahead to cross the tracks. However, while commuter trains may have a schedule, remember that freight trains do not. They do not travel at fixed times, so always look for and expect the possibility of a train at a rail crossing or highway-rail intersection. Furthermore even when you are not crossing tracks but simply standing near them waiting for a train or waiting to pass, it is important to keep your distance. A train can actually extend three feet or more over the steel rail, so it is important to keep a wide zone of safety from the train tracks. It is also imperative to always be alert when around train tracks. Avoid being on your phone, texting, or listening to music and any activity that would distract you and take attention away from your safety.
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Many of us understand and appreciate the severity and frequency of truck and car accidents. However, it is important to realize that not all dangerous accidents involve a motor vehicle. In fact, many accidents happen on our nation’s railroads, causing serious personal injuries and fatalities to pedestrians and drivers. , Recent studies by the National Transportation Safety Board show that many people do not realize how frequently railroad accidents occur .

According to a post by USA Today, there is not enough public awareness surrounding the dangers of railroad. Recently, individuals testified at the National Transportation Safety Board forum about the gravity of railroad dangers and the frequency of accidents. Last year alone, 1400 people were struck by trains in the United States. According to Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board, too many people do not understand that railroads are not a place for play, exercise, or shortcuts and that too many people do not appreciate the dangers. Another speaker, Arthur Miller, a film industry rail safety expert, elaborated about railroad trespassers and stressed that the “railroad always wins.”
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The City of Chicago’s far-reaching borders incorporate some 237 square miles of land, and yet, for most of the city’s nearly 2.7 million residents, the majority of their desired destinations are just a few minutes, and a few dollars, away. No matter where one’s destination may be, the ubiquity of the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) public transportation options aim to ensure that all people are able to get where they need to go safely. The sheer size and scope of the network serviced by the CTA’s 1,800 buses and 1,200 ‘L’ train cars is enough to gain it recognition as the 2nd largest public transit system in the nation, however, due to the organization’s very nature as a facilitator of mass transportation (carrying approximately 1.6 million Chicago residents around the city every weekday), the CTA also assumes enormous responsibility in cases where passenger or bystander safety is compromised; yesterday, a serious accident involving a CTA ‘L’ train created just such an event.

Early Monday morning, an ‘L’ train traveling along the CTA Blue Line failed to come to a stop at its final station, the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, resulting in a violent collision with a safety bumper situated at the end of the track. The momentum of the train carried it forward, jumping the bumper and derailing its cars causing them to careen up a nearby escalator and set of stairs. Although initial reports claim that 32 people suffered serious (but non-life threatening) injuries as a result of the crash, in a miraculous turn of events, the incident did not lead to a single fatality. (City of Chicago; Chicago Transit Authority)

Currently, several officials believe that the operator of the train may have fallen asleep at the helm; however, said conductor required hospitalization for her injuries, and as a result, she has not yet been reached to provide a comment on the issue. Reports provided by the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, a local union group representing the operator, seem to support the likelihood of the driver falling asleep at the wheel, pointing out the fact that the individual driving the train had worked more than twenty hours of overtime during the week leading up to the incident. Authorities say they will remain on the scene this week reviewing station videos of the incident and analyzing reports showing communication signals, as well as information regarding the train’s condition at the time of the crash. In addition to local authorities, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will also be traveling to the scene of the accident in an effort to determine the circumstances that may have led to the train jumping the stations protective bumpers, which they had previously believed were capable of preventing such an incident. At present, neither officials, nor the CTA have provided a timetable for the reopening of the Blue Line O’Hare station. (Thomson Reuters)

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When you consider that there are 6 million car accidents in the United States every year, it can be pretty unsettling. Auto accidents injure a staggering 3 million people every year, and 2/3rd of them will have to live with these impairments for the rest of their lives. It has been said that one death is a tragedy, but one million is a statistic, and thus, for many people this annual tally is nothing more than a sea of numbers. However, our lawyers have spent their careers serving the ‘ones,’ and we know that every fatality and injury comes with an individual or family who is now struggling to make ends meet. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Last weekend, a 35-year-old man was killed when his car was struck by a Metra train in Lake Forest. Authorities announced Monday that the victim was a Northwestern University Medical School professor, and a surgeon at the school’s Lake Forest Hospital. Eyewitnesses reported that they saw the man’s vehicle heading east on Old Mill road when the Metra crossing warning lights and bells began. It appears that the sedan maneuvered around the crossings lowered gates before being struck by the train, which carried it roughly 100 yards due to the force of the collision. At present, officials are continuing their investigation into the incident. (Chicago Tribune – Trib Local)

When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, the families of seriously injured or deceased victims must deal with incredible emotional strain, but we rarely stop to contemplate the excruciating fiscal toll these contretemps have. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the average cost of medical care and productivity loss associated with car accident injuries was approximately $100 billion, and this is an incredible burden to bear for those who are already dealing with the emotional roller coasters of an auto accident. To make matters worse, many of the two million people that suffer permanent injuries every year rely on their income to support their family or pay their living expenses, and this can place families in a very precarious spot. (Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association)

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The term ‘public transportation’ encompasses many things. Buses, subways, rail lines, trolleys, and ferries are just a few examples, and with gas prices rising significantly over the past decade, many Americans now utilize public transportation much more frequently. Although it’s rare, accidents do happen, and when they do, they have the potential to create serious devastation. Public transportation is responsible for making over 10 billion trips each year, so it is incredibly important that we do everything we can to keep our common carriers, and the people who use them safe.

Earlier today, a runaway Chicago CTA train collided with another train on the Blue Line in Forest Park, injuring dozens of people. The CTA accident, which happened around 8 a.m., occurred when the outbound train was hit by an empty out of service train headed in the opposite direction at the Harlem Avenue station. According to the CTA, 33 people were transported to local hospitals, but no one was seriously injured, however conflicting reports say that as many as 48 may have been hurt in the crash. It is unclear what caused the collision, but the CTA, as well as the Forest Park police, have informed the union that they suspect no criminal activity or foul play related to the incident. “The train should have been tripped and gone into emergency,” one official commented. “It’s starting to look like a mechanical malfunction.” (Chicago Tribune)

Today’s events show how dangerous public transportation accidents can be; thankfully, in this case no fatalities occurred, but this isn’t always true. Common carriers are required by state and federal law to use a higher degree of care to ensure the safety of all, and when they fail to do so, they are putting thousands of people at risk. Defective equipment, driver negligence, improper maintenance practices, and inadequate safety measures are some of the most common causes of mass transit accidents, and these can usually be avoided simply by using proper caution.

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In light of all of the recent news coverage, our lawyers thought it was important to update our readers on the tragic train derailment that happened this past Saturday in Quebec.. According to the latest reports, the accident has already left a reported 20 people dead, and inspectors say that this number could balloon to as high as 50 before their search of the site is concluded. With investigators racking their brains to piece the events of Saturday back together, litigation could soon follow against Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, as well as their Chicago based affiliate, Rail World, Inc. (Reuters; Chicago Sun Times)

Only hours after an unmanned runaway train carrying 72 tankers of crude oil derailed and exploded in the Quebec city of Lac-Mégantic, MMA chairman Ed Burkhardt was questioned about potential lawsuits. Burkhardt told one agency that he expected the claims against his railway to amount to “a lot of money,” but if Chicago becomes the venue and jurisdiction of choice for the lawsuits, settlements could be substantially higher than even the chairman expects. (Leader-Post)

United States courts traditionally feature more liberal damage laws, which ensure that people injured by the negligent conduct of corporations are fully compensated for the harms caused to them. Because the MMA’s management and investment firm, Rail World, Inc., is located in Chicago, attorneys may look at the circumstances as a chance to shift the venue and jurisdiction choice to the United States.

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This past July 4th a Union Pacific train derailed and resultantly collapsed a bridge in a Chicago suburb, reports The Chicago Sun-Times. The weather was over 100 degrees at the time of the accident, which is said by Union Pacific to be the cause of the derailment. Fortunately, the train was not a passenger train, and was only transporting coal. However, at least two people were found dead after being crushed by the collapsed bridge and derailed train.

One of the accident’s victims was a 69-year-old Chicago man, and the other was his 70-year-old wife of over 47 years. Their son has filed a wrongful death suit on their behalf against Union Pacific, claiming, “Union Pacific was negligent, failed to properly build and repair its tracks near the viaduct and failed to take notice of ‘dangerous and unsafe operating conditions.'” The claim regarding the repair and building of the tracks results from the fact that there have been two previous derailments in the same spot.
Additionally, there was reinforcement added to the bridge in question in the past year. Both sides are using this information to their advantage. On one hand, Union Pacific could be said to have been aware of the shortfalls of their bridge. On the other hand, Union Pacific could be said to have taken the necessary measures to be void of negligence.

Union Pacific also claims that it had done multiple checks on the bridge and tracks, including the morning of the accident, and found nothing wrong. They argue that the abnormal excess build up of train cars was more than the bridge could handle. Despite the excuses, the plaintiff’s attorney does not think that it is acceptable for something so tragic to happen. Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand the feeling, and recognize the desire for answers and reconciliation.
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Recently, our Chicago auto accident lawyers read a news report detailing a railroad safety initiative that has been implemented by the Western Springs Police Department. According to the article, posted on WesternSprings.Patch.com, the campaign, entitled “Police on Board for Rail Safety” will begin its sixth year commencing May 1. The annual event involves a two-part initiative to promote railroad safety through accident and collision prevention, as well as, avoiding violations. The first part of the event will take place at the Western Springs Train Station where members will hand out train-safety information.

The second part of the initiative will transpire on May 8 when the Western Springs Police Department – along with other local law enforcement agencies – will be “aggressively enforcing” safety laws at the sites of Western Springs’ five vehicle and/or pedestrian crossings. In continuing with last year’s tradition, the Western Springs Police Department will not take punitive action during their enforcement. However, the police department will take the time to educate the local public on railway-safety.

According to the news report, the Western Springs Police Department released a study citing information obtained by the Illinois Commerce Commission in which it was revealed that the state of Illinois sees approximately 80 railroad-related fatalities each and every year. Of that number, our Chicago accident lawyers learned that roughly 50 percent of collisions between motor vehicles and trains occur at marked crossings with warning signals.

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NBCChicago reported a Chicago bike accident that occurred earlier this week involving a drunk driver and a cyclist. The driver has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence, aggravated fleeing police, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and reckless homicide. The car collided with the bike, killing the cyclist due to multiple injuries. The driver fled the scene, however police found him near the crash. The report continues to state that in addition to aggravated DUI and fleeing the scene, the driver ignored a stop sign, was driving without a license, and did not have insurance. The driver is currently being held without bond.

This story once again illustrates the dangers of driving under the influence. As we have discussed in previous posts, our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys believe that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious charge and should not be taken lightly. We hope that by publicizing DUI accidents, readers will see how many preventable injuries and deaths occur each month in the Chicago area. We hope our readers will use this knowledge to help raise awareness surrounding this problem. Driving intoxicated, from any substance, can not only harm you, but it also endangers other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Additionally, this story brings up the issues surrounding hit and run accidents. There are a number of reasons why drivers decide to leave the scene of an accident, but it is always a poor decision, and can lead to serious charges. In this case, the driver should have not left the scene of the accident, but probably did so because he was intoxicated and driving without a license and feared arrest. According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, “The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible and shall then forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident.” Our Chicago injury attorneys encourage drivers involved in an accident, to pull over safely, and call an emergency number. Doing so may help the victim get the medical attention he or she needs sooner, and could save a life.

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A Chicago area car collision with a Metra train claimed the lives of two elderly women from Tinley Park. The Chicago Tribune reports that the deadly accident occurred when their vehicle crashed through warning gates and ran into the side of the Metra Rock Island Line train headed towards Chicago. The car was drug by the fast moving train for several hundred feet before coming to a stop. Emergency responders commented on the severity of the accident, noting that it was one of the worst car-train accidents in the area in recent times.

The circumstances surrounding the crash are still unknown. According to the report, Metra will perform a detailed investigation to ensure that the train and all safety warning signals and devices were properly working at the time of the crash. They can gather much of this information through the train’s event recorder, similar to a black box on an airplane.

Chicago train accidents are a common occurrence due to the large number of trains operating in our area. In addition to freight trains, our rail lines also transport travelers, locals and commuters through the Amtrak and Metra lines, and CTA. Because of this large volume of rail traffic, accidents are inevitable, but our Chicago personal injury attorneys know that many of the crashes between vehicles and trains are avoidable.