Over the past decade, more than 55,000 people have been killed or injured by trains in the United States. Although rules and regulations are increasingly enforced, train fatalities continue to be high. Many accidents are the result of negligence by the conductor or railway, violations of safety guidelines, stalled cars on the tracks, defective train parts, or track and signal defects. Our Chicago train accident lawyers believe that it is important that commuters and others feel safe while traveling on a train or using a train crossing. At Moll Law Group, our transportation accident lawyers can bring claims on behalf of Chicago residents and others who have been injured by the negligent operation of trains. We also try to increase awareness of safety issues and establish better minimum standards in train safety and design. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we were involved.Holding a Train Operator Liable for Damages
Train accidents include collisions between two trains, collisions between a train and another vehicle, pedestrian injuries at a railroad crossing, or a derailment. Liability will have to be analyzed to determine whether you can potentially recover damages for injuries sustained in a train accident. Both railways and commuter lines are considered common carriers, which transport the public for a fee. While a common carrier cannot guarantee that its passengers are always safe, it is held to the highest standard of care to avoid any injuries to passengers.
Although they travel very fast, passengers do not typically wear seatbelts or have other protection inside trains. In the event of a crash, passengers may be thrown or suffer catastrophic injuries. They may also be hurt while leaving a train. If you can prove that the conduct of a railway was negligent, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. Generally, to prove negligence, you would have to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, a causal link connected the breach to the accident, and you incurred damages. For example, if a railroad conductor texts while operating a train, he or she may not notice a child on the tracks. This negligence can be imputed to the railroad, since the conductor is in the course and scope of his or her job. A train accident lawyer in Chicago can help you try to hold a railroad company accountable if appropriate.
Railroads must include a black box in their locomotives. The black box electronically records information about what a train is doing at any given moment. This information may include speed, direction, and the use of signals and brakes. After an accident, the black box provides important evidence about what caused the accident and whose fault it was.
Some of the most devastating train accidents involve injuries or death to bystanders at unprotected crossings, which are crossings that have no warning signs, lights, or barriers to show a train's approach. Bystander cases sometimes involve a plaintiff's comparative negligence, such as by failing to heed a sign or warning. In those cases, state rules will govern whether the bystander may recover damages, and whether the award will be reduced by an amount proportionate to the bystander’s degree of fault.Consult an Experienced Chicago Attorney after a Train Accident
If you have been harmed due to railway, engineer, or conductor negligence in Chicago or the surrounding cities, the injury attorneys at Moll Law Group may be able to represent you in seeking damages. We also can assist people in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to set up a free consultation with a Chicago train accident attorney.