Joliet train accident lawyers at Curcio & Casciato understand the devastation that can result from a Joliet train accident, often resulting in serious injuries for train accident victims. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a railroad accident in Joliet, Illinois, our firm is here to provide experienced legal representation. Our train accident attorneys are dedicated to serving Joliet communities and have a proven track record of obtaining maximum compensation for those who have been harmed due to the negligence of others. Whether you were injured on Chicago Transit Authority trains or other vehicles or rail systems in the area, including those in Hoffman Estates, Oak Park, Naperville, and Aurora, we are here to fight for your rights and seek justice on your behalf.

At the Curcio & Casciato law firm, our Chicago personal injury attorneys are committed to serving Joliet and helping victims of railroad accidents receive the compensation they deserve. Call our legal team at 312-321-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.

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Common Causes of Train Accidents in Joliet, IL

Some of the most common causes of railroad accidents in Joliet, IL, Chicago, IL, and across Illinois include operator negligence, train track problems, malfunctioning warning signals, unprotected railroad crossings, and more.

Operator negligence in the context of train accidents is a critical issue that poses significant risks to the safety of passengers, pedestrians, and employees. This negligence encompasses a wide range of behaviors, from distracted and impaired driving to failure to observe vital signals and speeding. The consequences of operator negligence can be severe, resulting in physical injuries, psychological trauma, loss of life, and extensive property damage. When operator negligence is a contributing factor in a railroad accident, it can have significant legal implications. Victims and their families can seek compensation for their losses and hold the negligent operator and employer accountable.

Train track problems are a significant concern when it comes to ensuring the safety of railroad operations. These issues range from track defects and wear-and-tear to improperly aligned tracks and insufficient maintenance. These problems can lead to derailments, collisions, and other railroad accidents when neglected or left unaddressed. The consequences of train track problems can be catastrophic, resulting in injuries, fatalities, and extensive property damage. Recognizing the critical role of track integrity in railway safety, railroad companies, and regulatory agencies must prioritize regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs to prevent accidents caused by track-related issues.

Unprotected railroad crossings pose a grave risk to motorists, pedestrians, and train passengers. These crossings lack essential safety features such as crossing gates, warning lights, and signals, leaving individuals vulnerable to potentially life-threatening situations. Accidents at unprotected railroad crossings often occur due to inadequate visibility, drivers failing to notice oncoming trains, or pedestrians misjudging the distance and speed of approaching trains. Authorities and railroad companies must identify and address unprotected crossings promptly, implementing adequate safety measures to prevent accidents and protect the lives of those who use these crossings.

Malfunctioning warning signals at railroad crossings pose a significant danger to the public’s safety. These signals, including lights, bells, and crossing gates, are designed to alert motorists and pedestrians to an approaching train and signal them to stop or proceed cautiously. When these warning signals malfunction or fail to activate as intended, it can lead to accidents with catastrophic consequences. Such malfunctions may result from electrical failures, sensor issues, or maintenance neglect railroad companies need to maintain and regularly inspect their warning signal systems to ensure they are in proper working order.

Malfunctioning equipment on trains can seriously contribute to railroad accidents, posing significant risks to passengers and railroad employees. The proper functioning of train equipment, including brakes, engines, signals, and safety systems, is crucial to the safe operation of trains. Malfunctions in any of these components can result in accidents, derailments, and other hazardous situations. That’s why railroad workers and agencies must conduct thorough investigations to determine the cause of the equipment malfunction and hold responsible parties accountable. 

A Chicago product liability attorney can help determine if adefective train part caused the accident.

An obstructed view of railroad crossings can turn an otherwise routine commute into dangerous. Overgrown vegetation, structures, or other obstructions near railroad crossings can limit visibility and make it challenging for drivers and pedestrians to see approaching trains. This limited visibility increases the risk of accidents, especially at uncontrolled crossings without proper warning signals or crossing gates.

Distracted train operators and drivers are a significant safety concern in railroad accidents. These distractions, ranging from texting and phone use to adjusting radios or engaging in conversations, divert their attention away from their primary responsibilities—operating vehicles safely and attentively. For train operators, such distractions can lead to missed signals, improper braking, and delayed reactions, resulting in catastrophic accidents. Similarly, distracted drivers at railroad crossings may fail to notice approaching trains, leading to dangerous collisions while crossing railroad tracks.

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Common Train Accident Injuries in Joliet, IL

Railroad accidents often result in serious injuries due to the size and weight of trains involved. Common injuries sustained in railroad accidents include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Head injuries can occur from collisions, falls, or objects flying inside the train. Chicago traumatic brain injury attorneys have decades of combined experience in representing these types of injured victims.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries can lead to partial or total paralysis, depending on the severity of the damage. Allow a Chicago spinal cord injury attorney or a Chicago paralysis attorney to seek justice on your behalf.
  • Fractures: Broken bones are common in railroad accidents, and they can range from minor to complex fractures requiring surgery.
  • Burns Injuries: Explosions or fires in train accidents can cause burns, which may be severe and require extensive medical treatment. Burn injuries can result in thousands of dollars of medical bills, which is why it’s essential to contact Chicago burn injury attorneys so we can recover these damages on your behalf.
  • Internal Injuries: The force of a train collision can result in internal injuries, such as organ damage and internal bleeding.
  • Amputations: The impact of a train accident can lead to the loss of limbs, requiring ongoing medical care and rehabilitation. A Chicago amputation lawyer can help victims recover the necessary damages to cover these expenses.
  • Psychological Trauma: Survivors of railroad accidents may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychological issues.

It’s essential to seek immediate medical attention after a railroad accident, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can have long-term consequences.

What is the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)?

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) is a federal law that provides legal protection and compensation for railroad workers who are injured on the job. FELA was enacted in 1908 to address the unique hazards and challenges faced by railroad employees. Unlike traditional workers’ compensation, FELA claims allow injured railroad workers to file personal injury lawsuits against their employers, alleging negligence. A Chicago FELA lawyer can analyze the details of your case and help you determine if you have grounds to file a claim.

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What is the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA)?

The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) is another federal law focusing on railroad industry safety. The FRSA protects railroad employees who report safety violations, engage in safety-related activities, or cooperate with safety investigations. It is designed to encourage employees to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation.

How FELA Claims Work for Joliet Railroad Employees

If you are a railroad worker injured on the job, you may be eligible to file a FELA claim. Here’s how the process generally works:

  • Report the Injury: As a railroad employee, you must promptly report your injury to your employer.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Obtain medical treatment for your injuries and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Consult With Our Joliet Attorneys: It’s advisable to consult an experienced Chicago railroad accident attorney at Curcio & Casciato, who can evaluate your case, gather evidence, and advise you on the best course of action.
  • File a Lawsuit: Your attorney will help you file a lawsuit against your employer alleging negligence as the cause of your injuries. If more than one party is responsible for your accident, a Joliet railroad accident lawyer will help you file claims against all negligent parties.
  • Litigation Process: The lawsuit will go through the legal process, including discovery, depositions, and possibly negotiations or a trial.
  • Compensation: If successful, you may receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
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Workers’ Compensation Claim vs. FELA Claim

It’s important to note that FELA claims for injured railroad employees work differently than the average workers’ compensation claim. The burden of proof required in a successful workers’ comp claim is very high compared to that required in a FELA claim. In a FELA claim, all that injury victims must prove is that their Chicago train derailment or railroad accident was partially or fully caused by their employer’s negligence. Additionally, injured victims can often recover far more damages in a FELA claim than in a workers’ compensation claim. 

Even still, FELA claims are complex, which is why it’s so essential to hire a team of train crash attorneys in Joliet, IL to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

FELA Compensation for Railroad Accidents in Illinois

FELA allows injured railroad workers to seek various forms of compensation, including:

  • Medical Bills: Coverage for reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the injury.

  • Lost Wages: Compensation for lost income, including past and future earnings.

  • Pain and Suffering: Damages for the physical and emotional pain caused by the injury.

  • Disability Benefits: Financial support for permanent disabilities that hinder your ability to work.

  • Wrongful Death: If a loved one dies due to a railroad accident, surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim under FELA. Be sure to contact our Chicago wrongful death attorneys to learn more.

Compensation for Non-Railroad Workers in Joliet Train Accidents

Most train crash victims are trespassers, so those who walk or drive across train tracks. These victims may be able to pursue legal action as well, though they must file a personal injury claim, not a FELA claim. These train accident victims can recover maximum compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, and even funeral and burial expenses in the event of death. 

At Curcio & Casciato, our legal team takes pride in serving Joliet, IL, and all victims of train accidents. If you have suffered injuries due to a railroad accident, be sure to speak with one of our experienced attorneys to determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.

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Joliet Train Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a railroad accident in Joliet, Illinois, seeking legal representation is crucial to ensure your rights are protected. The experienced Joliet railroad accident lawyers at Curcio & Casciato are here to help injury victims navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation they deserve. Our personal injury attorneys also handle Chicago train accidents, Naperville railroad accidentsAurora railroad accidents, and train crashes throughout North Illinois.

Contact our Joliet, IL lawyers today at 312-321-1111 to schedule a free consultation, and let us work diligently to secure a brighter future for you and your family. Your recovery is our top priority.