Chicago Railroad Accident Lawyer
Millions of people ride trains in the United States on a daily basis. Although railroad accidents are not that common, they do occur. And when they do, the outcome can be catastrophic. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that hundreds of passengers die each year from railroad accidents.
At Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd., our Chicago railroad accident lawyers pride themselves on giving 100 percent of their legal knowledge and skills to obtain justice for clients who have been injured or have lost a loved one in a tragic train accident. We work for you, not just your claim.
Reasons for Railroad Accidents
Railroad crossings are the most dangerous places for accidents, and in many cases accidents are due to cars attempting to rush a crossing. However, a devastating train crash can happen for a number of other reasons, such as:
- Colliding with another train that it mistakenly crosses paths with
- Mechanical failure
- Inadequate security on the train
- Dated and unsuitably-maintained tracks
- Absent or inadequate warnings at crossings
- Conductor or engineering negligence
Trains: A Common Carrier
A train is a “common carrier,” meaning it has a higher duty to safely transport passengers from point A to point B than a private vehicle operator. Pedestrian accidents and motorist claims against railroads are often determined under the negligence laws of the state where the accident occurred. However, these lawsuits are often governed by federal regulatory safety standards.
FELA: A Law Protecting Railroad Workers
Railroads are at least as dangerous for railroad employees as for passengers. As many employees as passengers are killed on railroads each year. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) applies to railroad workers who are injured or killed on the job, allowing them and their families to receive compensation for their injuries. FELA is different from Workers’ Compensation in that it allows you to sue your employer and receive compensation if the railroad exhibited negligence that led to your injuries.
There are many factors that can cause a railroad accident, and different parties who can be held responsible for your injury, such as:
- Railroad company or public agency that owns and operates the train
- Train operator or railroad employee
- The company or government entity that owns or controls that section of railroad
- A negligent motor vehicle driver
- The manufacturer of the engine, signal equipment or other equipment
The train accident injury lawyers at Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd. are here to help you get the money you deserve. If you live in the Chicago area and have been injured in a railroad accident, please call or email our office today. We offer free consultations and will never charge unless we get money for you.
Train Accident FAQs
What are the common causes of train accidents?
Since the new millennium, train accidents across the country have been decreasing due to new technology. However, the most common cause of railroad accidents are at crossings, when the train collides with a motor vehicle. Sadly, many motorists try to beat trains through the crossing and speed into the intersection, barely sneaking under the crossing bar only to collide with the oncoming train. Statistics reveal that a crossing accident occurs every 90 minutes in the United States. Other reasons for accidents include derailment, conductor negligence, improper track maintenance and faulty equipment.
Does a train have to crash for the train company to be held liable for injuries?
No. In fact, many passengers suffer serious injuries without the train crashing. Incidents like improper starting or stopping, improper door closings, or failure to warn can cause injuries that range from cuts and bruises to head trauma and brain injuries.
Who can be held liable for train accidents?
There are a number of parties who can be held liable, depending on the cause of your injury. This may include:
- Train operators or railroad employees
- Track owners or the party that governs the area of track on which you were hurt
- Manufacturers and suppliers of the train and component parts of the train
- Chart publishers or train traffic controllers
- Mechanics or train repairmen
What damages are recoverable in train accident cases?
If you have suffered a railroad injury and survive, you can sue for past and future medical expenses, loss of wages and the inability to earn future wages and punitive damages when applicable. If your loved one has suffered a wrongful death because of a train accident, his or her survivors are entitled to compensation for the economic losses as a result of that person’s death. This may include funeral and burial expenses, compensation for emotional distress and loss of companionship, and the wages that person would have earned (to the dependants) had the person not died untimely.
If I’m a railroad employee, are my injuries covered by Workers’ Compensation?
In most cases, no. Railroad employees who work for interstate railroads are covered by a different law, known as the Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA), which allows injured workers to sue their employer. Unlike workers’ compensation, FELA allows workers to recover damages for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages, but requires proof of wrongdoing on the part of the employer.
Why should I choose Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd. to represent my train accident claim?
The Chicago train accident lawyers at Harvey L. Walner & Associates, Ltd. have more than 75 years of experience litigating personal injury cases. We are firmly dedicated to providing our clients with a high degree of personalized attention. When you call us, we will call you back no matter what. Our lawyers care about winning your claim, but we also care about you. We want you to heal quickly from your train accident injury without obsessing over your medical bills and lost wages.