Abels & Annes

Who is to Blame When a Chicago Train Accident Happens?

71116(2)There are so many aspects that factor into train safety that it can be difficult for an average passenger or a Chicago driver to understand train incidents fully. While trains in Illinois serve a vital purpose, they also present a very real risk of causing or being involved in an accident, potentially altering countless lives and leading to devastation that affects an entire community. So when things go wrong with a train, who is to blame?

It all depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding a particular train accident. Fault can lie with any individual involved in a collision and will be based upon the laws of Illinois, including who had the right-of-way and whether anyone acted in a negligent or reckless manner.

The victims of these train incidents should know that they have legal rights which may enable them to recover for the totality of the harm they suffer including any medical expenses incurred, lost wages experienced, and pain and suffering endured. However, to be able to recover financially, victims must act affirmatively to protect their rights within a time period specified by law or they will be barred from acting forever. Working with a personal injury attorney can help victims receive the amount of compensation they deserve and can ensure that someone is on the victim’s side, fighting for his or her rights.

Most train-related accidents in the Chicago area involve a collision between a vehicle and a train. These two distinctly separate modes of transportation use the same railroad crossings, meaning that trains and cars will occupy the same place from time to time. However, a vehicle and a train should never be located in the crossing at the same time as this will cause the two to collide, leading to damage and potentially injuries. If a train is speeding, fails to signal its arrival, or jumps a track, the train may be liable for striking a car. In contrast, if the driver of a car ignores a lowered train gate, enters the train crossing when the vehicle does not have the right-of-way, or speeds in front of an oncoming train, the driver of the car may be to blame.

Most accidents involve passengers on a train, in a car, or both. While one or more drivers may be liable for an accident, it is not a passenger’s fault that the vehicles collide, regardless of whether a passenger is in a car or on a train. Similarly, one or more drivers or operators involved generally should not shoulder the blame for a collision as an accident typically happens due to one motorist’s mistakes.

Relief is possible for all victims who are not legally liable for the accident in the form of a civil claim for damages. Further, even if a victim is partially or wholly to blame for a crash, that victim may be entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim if she was working at the time of the crash as injured workers are entitled to relief regardless of fault. In some cases, multiple claims are possible with various time frames and statutes of limitation so it is wise to speak with an experienced train accident lawyer in Chicago if you are interested in seeking relief.

Prior Blog Entry:

Blue Collar Workers Pay 59 Percent More for Auto Insurance than White Collar Workers, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published July 6, 2016.