CHICAGO TRAIN ACCIDENT LAWYER
Experienced Chicago Train Accident Lawyers
In 2020 alone, there have been 8,558 train accidents in the United States that resulted in 5,402 injuries and 783 deaths. This leaves thousands of victims and families of victims suffering from the physical and mental trauma of an accident. Because of these unfortunate statistics, a Chicago train accident lawyer at Curcio Law Offices wants to fight for you. You deserve to recover damages for your pain and serious injuries. We can help you do that. Call us today at 312-321-1111 for a free consultation.
Types of Train Accidents
While this form of transportation is one of the safest ways to travel, no form of transportation is completely shielded from a serious accident.
The most common types of railroad accidents include derailments and trains colliding with:
- Other trains
- Vehicles crossing the tracks
The most common type of accident is a train on vehicle collision which generally happens at railroad crossings. In fact, there are approximately 6,000 train on vehicle collisions every year in the United States according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
The most common railroad accidents are actually crossing accidents. These occur when a train strikes a vehicle crossing the railroad tracks.
What Causes Chicago Train Accidents?
There are countless causes of railroad accidents. The most common causes are operator negligence, track problems, no warning signals, defective warning signals, obstructive view of railroad crossings, stalled vehicles, distractions, and faulty equipment.
If train operators travel faster than their speed limit, if they fail to use the proper alarms at crossings, of if they fail to see other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians in their path, accidents occur. Train accident cases typically involve a host of negligence, creating the perfect storm for the accident to occur. These errors include but aren’t limited to: poor training, fatigue, inexperience, mental disorders, or reckless behavior. Human error, in general, will generally qualify for a negligence lawsuit.
Problems With the Track
Train tracks sustain gradual wear and tear due to decades of use. This wear and tear can lead to serious accidents if gone unchecked. Broken and buckled tracks specifically can cause train derailments.
Unprotected Railroad Crossings
Approximately 50% of the 129,500 crossings have automatic warning signals, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. And, most of the 80,500 private highway-grade crossings don’t have automatic warning signals. If inadequate signage exists or if the railroad crossing has a poor design, the railroad company may be held liable for injuries.
Defective Warning Signals
If warning signals, such as lights or crossing arms don’t work properly or if the railroad crossing isn’t properly maintained, the railroad company may also be liable.
Obstructed View of Railroad Crossings
Overgrown vegetation can hide tracks or warning signals entirely. Unmaintained railroad crossings will eventually lead to serious injuries. It’s imperative that railroad companies spend time ensuring these areas are safe, and when they don’t, they neglect the duty of reasonable care.
Distracted driving by both drivers and conductors can cause a railroad accident. Common distractions can include texting, talking on the phone, talking to a passenger, etc. Distracted driving can certainly cause a driver to not see railroad tracks or warning signals. Similarly, distractions can cause conductors to not see oncoming cars at railroad crossings.
Faulty equipment and mechanical defects such as, worn out railroad tracks, couplings, switches, broken wheels, brake failure, and various axel defects can prevent trains from stopping on time or cause a derailment.
In some cases a manufacturer may be held liable for defective parts.
Types of Train Accident Injuries
Many people consider rail travel to be safer than car or plane travel. However, injury from railroad accidents can be devastating.
Personal injuries can include but are not limited to:
- Fractured and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Short or long term paralysis
Railroad companies dedicate an enormous amount of their budgets to dealing with train accident cases. Railroad companies and their insurers hire the most experienced train accident attorneys in order to minimize their liability, often times, ignoring the railroad negligence that caused the accident to begin with.
How to Avoid Train Accidents
You alone can’t prevent train accidents.
However, you can take steps to protect yourself from train accidents:
- Always be on the lookout for hidden tracks or warning signals.
- Remember that a train could arrive at any moment.
- Never walk on or near train tracks.
- Only cross tracks at approved crossing sites.
- Never try to race across the tracks, because trains can’t stop quickly.
- Don’t stop your car on tracks for any reason.
- If your car stops on tracks due to a mechanical issue, get out of the car immediately and call for help.
- Don’t ever try to jump into an open box car while a train is moving. The movies make this look easy. We can promise you that it isn’t.
How Much is a Train Accident Lawsuit Settlement?
A train accident attorney can’t make promises about settlement amounts. However, we can show you some of the latest personal injury claims and their settlement amounts.
Fortunately for victims, Congress passed a law after an Amtrak commuter train accident that raised the liability cap. The maximum for damages used to be $200 million. But now the maximum is $295 million.
At Curcio Law Offices, we work closely with our clients and other parties involved in the case. We provide a free case evaluation for victims in the Chicago area and work tirelessly for our clients. In the past, our clients have received multi million dollar settlements and verdicts.
$265 Million from Amtrak
Amtrak train company reached a $265 million settlement after a 2015 train derailment in Philadelphia. This accident killed eight people and caused serious injury to over 200. The engineer was going 106 mph around a curve in a 50 mph zone. He later faced over 200 criminal charges as a result.
$60 Million from Norfolk Southern
After a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in Virginia, a gas station attendant suffered life-threatening injuries. His traumatic brain injury prevented him from accomplishing minor tasks. He received $46 million in damages, which later added up to $60 million with interest.
$6.65 Million from CTA Blue Line
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.
Do I Need a Chicago Train Accident Attorney?
In short, yes. All victims of train accidents need experienced personal injury lawyers. Train accidents are incredibly traumatic for injured passengers, drivers who have been t-boned, and employees who were just doing their jobs, as well as the families of these victims. The Chicago train accident attorneys at Curcio Law Offices can help you deal with your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages by assessing liability. While we focus on the legal complexities of your case, you can focus on getting the medical attention you deserve and recovering.
Damages for Train Accident Victims
In many circumstances, train accidents are the result of negligence from a railroad company or an engineer. Injured victims can receive both economic and non-economic damages as a result of their suffering to cover medical costs and financial losses sustained.
Economic damages compensate 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 cause long-term disabilities and medical issues, many victims will require extended care.
In the event that a train crash causes severe injuries, some victims may not be able to return to work either temporarily or permanently. Under the law, victims may receive damages for lost wages between the time of the injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
Lost Earning Potential
Victims can receive damages for the amount of money they would’ve earned from their jobs if they were never injured.
Non-economic damages provide compensation to victims for losses that monetary value can’t measure. Common non-economic damages include:
Pain and Suffering
Compensation for the physical pain suffered from injuries sustained in a train crash.
A court will determine monetary amounts by:
- The nature of the injuries
- The extent of the pain
- Length of time the victim has suffered or will suffer in the future
With physical pain from a trauma comes mental pain, as well.
Mental anguish damages compensate victims for:
- Any other type of emotional distress that’s directly linked to the train accident
Loss of Consortium
This refers to loss of affection, aid, and companionship of a loved one. A surviving spouse or child can receive damages for the loss of these familial benefits.
Punitive damages punish the train company or engineer for their negligence by compensating the victim. The goal of punitive damages is to defer the company or the engineer from making the same mistakes in the future.
Railroad Worker Injuries
Railroad workers can also suffer injuries due to the dangerous nature of trains, in general. If you’re a railroad worker and were injured on the job, you deserve justice and compensation, as well. However, instead of filing a personal injury lawsuit or utilizing worker’s comp, it’s best for you to file a FELA lawsuit.
Federal Employers Liability Act
What is FELA?
Congress created the Federal Employers Liability Act in 1908 in response to hundreds of injured railroad workers. Presently, a FELA lawsuit is best suited for an injured employee who works for a company that transports goods nationwide. To qualify for a FELA lawsuit, the employee must have been injured on the job.
Compensation From a FELA Lawsuit
FELA claims can provide more benefits and compensation for railroad workers compared to worker’s comp. For example, those who file for workers compensation may only receive 80% of their lost income while those who file a FELA claim may receive 100% of their lost income. Additionally, FELA claims can provide damages for pain and suffering while worker’s compensation generally can’t.
Experienced Train Accident Lawyers in Chicago
As a top Chicago personal injury and wrongful death firm, Curcio Law Offices has the experience needed to handle any case involving train accidents. Like with all personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, you have limited time to file a lawsuit. Contact us today at 312-321-1111 so that we can handle the complexities of your case while you heal from your accident.