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CHICAGO RAILROAD ACCIDENT LAWYER

Experienced Chicago Railroad Accident Attorney

In a large city like Chicago, trains aren’t just used to transport goods. Many Chicago residents use the Chicago Transit Authority to travel throughout the city. Unfortunately, trains are no safer than other forms of transportation, resulting in thousands of accidents, injuries, and deaths.

If you were injured in a railroad accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. For over 60 years, the Chicago railroad injury lawyers at the Curcio Law Offices have represented countless victims of railway accidents and are ready to represent you. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys, call 312-321-1111 today.

Chicago Railroad Accident Lawyer

Railroad Accident Statistics in the United States

In 2022, there were 10,035 railroad accidents resulting in 950 fatalities and 6,364 non-fatal injuries in the United States. Of those fatalities, 29% occurred at railroad crossings.

Chicago is no stranger to using trains for travel. In Chicago, residents rely heavily on the Chicago Transit Authority for transportation. On any weekday, over 830,000 rides take place on the CTA, making it the second-largest transportation system in the country. Unfortunately, the CTA ranks extremely low in terms of safety. Between 2004 and 2014, the CTA had the highest number of deaths, based on a report published by NBC 5 Chicago. The CTA also had the highest number of derailments.

Chicago railroad accident attorney

Common Causes of Railroad Accidents

Like car accidents, railroad accidents can happen in many different ways. However, the most common causes include track issues, operator negligence, defective warning signals, no warnings, stalled vehicles, obstructed view of railroad crossings, faulty equipment, and distractions.

Operator Negligence

When an operator travels faster than the speed limit, fails to use proper alarms at railway crossings, or doesn’t see other cars, pedestrians, or cyclists, the results can be catastrophic. Many railroad accident cases include several negligent actions, including operator fatigue, poor training, mental disorders, inexperience, or recklessness.

Train Track Problems

Over time, railroads will start to deteriorate from all the wear and tear. If unchecked, those damaged railways can lead to serious accidents and derailments.

Unprotected Railroad Crossings

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, approximately 50% of the 129,500 railroad crossings have automatic warning signals. Most of the 80,500 private highway crossings do not have any warning signal. Accidents occurring at railroad crossings can result in the railroad company being liable for damages if it is poorly designed or lacks proper signage.

Malfunctioning Warning Signals

If the warning signals like crossing arms or lights don’t function properly or the railroad isn’t maintained, the railroad could also be liable for damages.

Malfunctioning Equipment

Malfunctioning equipment or mechanical defects like worn-out tracks, switches, couplings, brakes, broken wheels, and axle defects can all lead to a derailment or prevent a train from stopping. Under certain circumstances, the manufacturer can be liable for the defective equipment.

If this is the case, our Chicago product liability lawyers know how to help!

Obstructed View of Railroad Crossings

When railroad crossings aren’t properly maintained, it can lead to overgrown vegetation obstructing an operator’s view. Railroad companies need to maintain their railways to ensure safety and avoid accidents.

Distractions

Our Chicago distracted driving accident attorneys know that train operators are just as likely as motor vehicle drivers to be distracted by texting, talking to passengers, or talking on the phone. This is considered negligent behavior as well.

chicago railroad injury attorney

Common Railroad Accident Injuries

Railroad injuries can be catastrophic due to the size and weight of the train. The common injuries sustained from railroad accidents include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Short or long-term paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Internal organ damage

Due to the severity of most railroad injuries, it’s important to consult with an experienced Chicago railroad injury lawyer or a Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer to understand your legal rights. Railroad companies often hire top attorneys for railroad injury cases to minimize the claim payout.

What is the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)?

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) was created in 1908 to protect injured railroad workers who are hurt on the job. Unlike typical workers’ compensation laws, which provide benefits to employees regardless of fault, FELA allows injured railroad workers to sue their employers for damages if they can prove that the railroad’s negligence played a role in causing their injuries.

What is FRSA?

The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) protects railroad employees who were wrongfully terminated or disciplined. The FRSA provides damages for any railroad worker who suffered retaliation from safety concerns and/or injuries. Railroad employees are also protected under the FRSA when railroad personnel and managers delay, deny, or interfere with an employee’s medical treatment.

Listed below are some damages that the FRSA can recoup:

  • Reinstate the railroad employee with the same seniority and benefits, unaffected.
  • Help avoid and expunge any disciplinary actions.
  • Pay all economic losses.
  • Pay back wages, including interest.
  • Pay unlimited emotional damages.
  • Pay punitive damages (maximum $250,000).
  • Pay attorney fees.
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How Do FELA Claims Work for Railroad Employees?

FELA differs from the typical workers’ compensation claim since FELA claims are fault-based. To receive FELA benefits, the injured railroad employee must show that their injury was caused partially or completely by faulty equipment or negligent actions of another railroad employee, agent, or contractor. Injured railroad employees can sue for damages at either the federal or state levels as long as they are not 100% at fault.

When pursuing a FELA claim for your railroad injury, it’s critical to work with a personal injury law firm with experience handling railroad injuries. The Chicago railroad injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices can help you file your claim and will ensure you recover fair compensation for your injuries. We won’t let the railroad industry bully clients into believing they’re due less than what they deserve.

Contact our Chicago FELA lawyers for more information.

Compensation That FELA Provides

The damages awarded from FELA claims are usually higher than those from workers’ compensation claims. Your FELA workplace injury claim can recover compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills, both past and future
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of the value of fringe benefits
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

FELA also provides compensation for railroad workplace injuries that resulted in wrongful death. Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers can potentially help family members of the railroad employee receive the following compensation:

  • Loss of services claimed by a spouse.
  • Loss of support claimed by spouse or child.
  • Loss of nurture and guidance claimed by a child.

Pursuing a wrongful death claim can be an extremely emotional experience for the deceased’s family. The compassionate wrongful death attorneys at Curcio Law Offices understand how difficult this can be and always handle these cases with the utmost care and delicacy.

Damages for Accident Victims Who Are Not Railroad Workers

Injured workers aren’t the only victims who can recover compensation for a railroad accident. When a railroad company or engineer acts negligently, the consequences can reach farther than railroad workers.

If you sustained a railroad injury following an accident, you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Your railroad injury lawyer from Curcio Law Offices will work towards recovering compensation for both types of damages. Examples of economic and non-economic damages are listed below.

Economic Damages

Economic damages can be awarded a monetary value and are easier to compensate than non-economic damages. The court system can easily calculate the amount of economic damages a person is entitled to based on receipts and other evidence that provide actual monetary amounts. Economic damages that you could receive are:

  • Medical bills, both past and future
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Mobility devices
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages don’t have a monetary value and are much harder to quantify than economic ones. While these damages aren’t shown in receipts or bills, it doesn’t mean that victims are any less due compensation for the mental and emotional side effects that follow an accident. Non-economic damages you can recover are:

  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Liability Cap for Railroad Accident Lawsuits

In some cases, the amount of compensation awarded for railroad accident cases might be limited. Congress passed a law in 1997 that capped the overall liability of railroads in passenger accidents to $200 million. That amount was increased in 2022 to over $322 million. Unfortunately, some accidents may result in injuries and damages that exceed that cap.

This liability cap applies to all railroad passenger claims against commuter authorities, high-speed railroad authorities, operators, states, and rail carriers.

chicago railroad accident lawsuit

Call a Chicago Railroad Accident Lawyer at Curcio Law Offices Today

If you’re a railroad employee or passenger injured in a railway accident, you could be entitled to compensation. The Chicago railroad injury lawyers from the Curcio Law Offices can help employees file their FELA claims and help passengers with personal injury lawsuits. To schedule a free consultation with one of our railroad attorneys, call 312-321-1111 today.