CHICAGO RAILROAD ACCIDENT LAWYERS

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Aggressive Legal Representation For Train Accident Victims in Chicago

As cities become more congested and more people move to suburbs, train and metro travel increase. It seems as if every week brings a new, tragic railroad or metro accident. These high-profile train crashes in Chicago and other busy metro areas cause death and injuries to many passengers. Millions of people rely on Amtrak, subways, and various other commuter rails and worry about their safety on American railways. 

 

Unfortunately, negligence causes many of these accidents. Negligence can take many forms. Train drivers may speed through stations or hazardous curves. Engineers might get distracted or fatigued. Authorities tasked with maintaining rails, cars, and other equipment may fail to do so.

Chicago Train Injuries

Many people consider rail travel to be safer than car or plane travel. However, injuries from railroad accidents can be devastating. Injuries can include but are not limited to:

  • Broken and fractured bones

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Back and neck injuries

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Short or long term paralysis 

The Federal Railroad Administration reports that nearly 1,000 people die from train accidents every year. When a train accident occurs, many innocent bystanders sustain injuries. This is because of train derailments, especially in residential areas.

Railroad companies dedicate an enormous amount of their budgets to dealing with lawsuits. Railroad companies and their insurers hire the best possible, experienced train accident attorneys. This is in order to minimize their liability. Victims are also entitled to legal counsel. 

Chicago Train Accident FAQs

The news will list many reasons for recent train crashes and derailments. They usually all tie back to the same problem: negligence. When it comes to train travel, engineers and drivers must follow strict safety and professional protocols. Train cars and tracks need constant maintenance and inspections. Electronic railroad signs must function properly to ensure driver and pedestrian safety. Tracks must be clear of debris.

 

Recently, an increasing number of train crashes occured due to excessive speed. Some train engineers travel well above the speed limit, even while navigating hazardous curves. Standard safety protocol requires train engineers to slow down to safely navigate them.

 

The infamous Washington State Amtrak derailment of 2017 was due to excessive speed. Although they were in a 30 mph zone, engineers were travelling at 80 mph on a curve. 

 

In 2016 and 2017, two northeast train companies witnessed crashes due to driver fatigue. In both cases, the operators or engineers were suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing starts and stops repeatedly during sleep. It is coincidentally a condition which causes many trucking accidents.

 

As a result of these high-profile train accidents, train safety advocates and lawmakers have made significant changes. New laws require mandatory sleep apnea testing and improved infrastructure maintenance. In addition, engineers implemented Positive Train Control in many busy rail lines. This technology automatically stops a train before accidents occur.

Be wary of any attorneys that promise you a set amount of compensation for a train accident lawsuit. Each case is different and every accident produces individual harm. However, we have put together a short guide to how train accident damages work.

Those who file train accident lawsuits pursue monetary compensation for their injuries. They may also seek compensation in the form of non-economic and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate family members of victims, and living injured victims for monetary losses for the following:

  • Past Medical Bills
    • Fees for emergency room visits
    • Bills for extended hospital stays
    • Surgery bills
    • Costs of assistive devices
    • Bills for appointments with medical professionals
  • Future Medical Expenses
    • For accidents that produce long-lasting medical issues, many victims will require extended care
  • Lost income
    • In the event that a train accident causes severe injuries, some people may not be able to return to work temporarily or even permanently.
    • Under the law, victims may receive compensation for lost wages between the time of the injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
  • Lost earning potential
    • In the event that a victim demonstrates their ability to earn a living due to a train crash, they may receive compensation
    • Past income helps determine how much courts award in the future. 

Non Economic Damages

Non economic damages provide compensation to victims and their families. This could be for intangible losses that are non-financial. Some of these might include:

  • Pain and Suffering
    • Compensation for the physical pain suffered from injuries sustained in a train crash
    • Monetary amounts are determined by
      • The nature of the injuries
      • The extent of the pain
      • Length of time the victim has suffered, or will be expected to suffer
  • Mental Anguish
    • There is emotional suffering that results from train crashes.
    • Mental Anguish damages compensate victims for anxiety, worry, grief, fright, and various other types of emotional distress resulting from a train crash.
  • Loss of Consortium
    • This refers to loss of affection, services assistance, aid and companionship of a loved one.
    • A surviving spouse or child may be entitled to compensation for the loss of these familial benefits and services.
  • Punitive damages
    • This is sometimes referred to as exemplary damages.
    • Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for outrageous or negligent conduct. It is intended to defer them from engaging in similar conduct again.
    • The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the victim. However, the victim will receive all or part of part of the punitive damages awarded.

No attorney can make any sort of promise about settlement amounts. However, we can show you some of the available data on train accident settlement amounts. Fortunately for victims, Congress passed a law after an Amtrak crash that raised the liability cap. The maximum for damages used to be $200 million but is now $295 million.

 

$265 Million

Amtrak reached a $265 million settlement after one of its trains derailed in Philadelphia. This accident killed eight people and injured over 200. The engineers were going 106 mph around a curve in a 50 mph zone. The judge ordered that the engineer face criminal charges. He later faced over 200 criminal charges.

$60 Million

After a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in Williamsburg VA, a gas station attendant suffered life-threatening injuries. His traumatic brain injuries made it difficult for him to accomplish minor tasks. He was awarded $46 million, totalling at $60 million with interest. 

$60 Million

A Metro-North train derailed at a sharp curve near the Sputyen Duyvil station in the Bronx. Four passengers died and dozens suffered injuries. The courts established a $60 million per-accident threshold. The engineer fell asleep at the controls due to undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. 

$6.65 Million

The CTA Blue Line train derailed at O’Hare International Airport in 2017. A U.S. Transportation Security Administration employee was seriously injured. Due to the injuries she sustained in the derailment, she no longer can perform her duties as a TSA officer. 

Victims of train accidents often suffer life changing injuries. Train accidents can be incredibly traumatic for both victims and families of victims. In the aftermath of a train accident, your focus should be on recovery. The Chicago Train Accident Attorneys at Curcio Law Offices understand the immense anguish and suffering train accident victims suffer. We know how to help you deal with your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages by assessing liability after the accident.

 

In nearly all circumstances, train accidents are the result of a railroad company’s negligence. However, proving this is a monumental task. Railroad laws at both the federal and state level are complex. There are multiple federal agencies tasked with regulating railroad safety. Multiple agencies are also responsible for investigating railroad accidents. This makes evidence collection difficult. 

 

The experienced Chicago railroad accident lawyers at Curcio Law Offices know these laws well. We are equipped to operate an investigation on your behalf. With a thorough, professional investigation, we can determine if a railroad company or any other responsible party violated laws or acted negligently.

Contact A Chicago Train Accident Attorney Today

Have you or a loved one experienced an injury from a train accident? Did you lose a loved one in a fatal train crash? The Chicago train accident attorneys at Curcio Law Offices will fight for your compensation. You deserve to recover damages from your injuries, pain and suffering and any other harm resulting from a train derailment or train crash.

As a top Chicago personal injury and wrongful death firm, Curcio Law Offices handles any cases involving train accidents. Like with all personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, your time to file a lawsuit is limited. Contact us today to receive a free, no-obligation case evaluation from a Train Accident Attorney. Or give us a call at 312-321-1111From there, we can give you a better idea of the timeline, the investigation, and whether or not your best course would be to settle or go to trial. We thoroughly investigate accidents. Our attorneys know how to negotiate with insurance companies and fight for your right to compensation.