Trains and railways are common forms of transportation that many Chicago residents use daily. People can take them to travel across the country or to get around their city and surrounding suburbs in a timely fashion. Trains take away the stress of having to drive somewhere with heavy traffic, confusing roads, or if you don’t want to worry about staying alert. We expect trains to have regular maintenance and attentive workers so they get to their destination safely. But when someone acts negligently, has insufficient sleep, or doesn’t ensure the railroad’s safety, people can get hurt.
If you’re ever in this situation, you may not know what to do next. But you can seek legal aid. The right attorney can make the difference between a favorable result and settling too early. The Chicago train accident lawyers from Krzak Rundio Law Group can help you get the justice and answers you deserve. We understand that train accident cases take time and skill to prove a train company’s negligence and we’re prepared to take up the challenge for you.
How Do Train Accidents Occur?
Train accidents may occur more often than you’d think. Many factors go into running a train and if there’s one problem, it can cause an accident. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Safety Analysis reported on five main train accident cause codes.
- Human Error. Operating brakes, maintaining a safe speed, and being in a healthy and alert condition are all needed for a train to run smoothly. Human error can cause an issue with using the brakes at the right time or going too fast for the tracks. Some people may be fatigued from lack of sleep or intoxication.
- Structural Issues. The roadbed or tracks could be broken or off center and cause an accident.
- Mechanical Failure. Accidents can occur when there are issues with the brakes, bearings, or electrical systems.
- Signal and Communication. Misinterpretations or failure to convey signals and communication could potentially cause accidents. This is especially important in train crossing signals because they’re the barrier that keeps cars from being on the tracks and in the train’s path. Trains traveling at high speeds need more time to slow down when they brake, so the response to emergency situations isn’t as fast as slamming on the brakes in a car.
- Miscellaneous. Weather can be a dangerous factor for trains. Extreme conditions like snow and ice can affect the tracks.
With all these potential ways for an accident to occur, it only takes the negligence of one individual to endanger the lives of others.
Train Accidents Can Affect Everyone
When you hear about train accidents, you usually immediately think about the people affected and if they’re okay. While some trains don’t transport people, those trains can still be involved in accidents that affect others. A train wreck could hurt the following groups of people:
- Railroad Workers.
Train accident injuries are serious. People can suffer from broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, lacerations, and possibly loss of limbs. Train accidents also often lead to the loss of life. Two major causes of train accident injuries occur from crossing accidents and derailments:
Train Crossing Accidents
The Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis reports collisions and casualties at highway crossings each year. While the overall trend has seen a decrease in collisions, fatalities, and injuries, the numbers are still high. In 2017, there were 2,105 collisions. 807 people sustained injuries and there were 274 fatalities.
Train crossing accidents are common because many things can go wrong at a crossing location. If trees or hedges are obscuring the signs, the whistle doesn’t go off to warn people of the oncoming train, or the crossing comes right after a blind turn, there’s a chance the driver or pedestrian won’t know a train is coming or won’t know they’re in a crossing area.
As one of the most common types of train accidents in the United States, derailment does more than cause injuries and fatalities. Other trains transporting hazardous materials damage infrastructure and the environment. Last November, the FRA investigated a molten sulfur leak from a train derailment. The substance can burn skin upon contact, affect your respiratory system, and turn into poisonous gas when it’s exposed to fire.
Recent Amtrak Accidents
You may have heard about recent Amtrak train accidents in the news. They’ve all had different causes, showing that an oversight can be the cause of a serious accident.
- South Carolina. On February 4, a train from New York was headed to Miami, but it was on the wrong track. It collided with a freight train traveling the opposite way on the track, resulting in two fatalities and 116 injuries.
- On January 31, an Amtrak train was transporting Republican members of Congress when it collided with a garbage truck at a railroad crossing. There was one fatality and six people were injured.
- Washington State. Last December, an Amtrak train was speeding at 78 mph on a curve that had a speed limit of 30. Many of the train cars came off the tracks, which caused three fatalities and 70 people were injured.
Get Help from a Chicago Train Accident Lawyer
Train accidents can cause injuries that could require you to spend time in the hospital and miss work. Paying for your medical expenses and worrying about lost wages shouldn’t be on your shoulders because you weren’t at fault. Krzak Rundio Law Group will fight to get you compensation for your financial losses.
Unfortunately, train accidents can sometimes cause the loss of a loved one. When someone is negligent and causes a train accident that results in a fatality, you can take steps on their behalf. You can file a wrongful death claim and be their voice and seek compensation for the losses those who survived them have sustained.
Your train accident claim may have positive outcome because of the effect on the train company. Bringing an action and getting a just outcome may also serve the purpose of making the railroad realize their negligence and change their policies or behaviors to make sure this never happens again.
Don’t wait to make your voice heard. Our Chicago train accident attorneys are ready to help. Contact us today at (312)736-1111 or contact us online.