Chicago Train Accident Attorney
Public transportation use in the US is growing. 2013 broke a 57-year record, with Americans taking 10.7 billion trips on public transit. Over the period of 1995 to 2013, public transportation ridership increased by 37.2%, higher than the 22.7% overall population increase. Every week, people board public transit 35 million times per day.
This has led to incredible profits for the public transit industry, which is worth $58 billion and employs almost 400,000 people in the US. Public transit accidents are treated differently from other personal injury claims. It takes expert legal counsel to determine whether or not a plaintiff’s claim is valid.
CTA L Train Accident in March 2014
Chicago area residents were shaken by the tragic derailment of the “L” train in March 2014. At least thirty-two people were injured early in the morning when a CTA train jumped the track at O’Hare International Airport.
The official investigation reported that the train jumped a bumper and collided with an escalator around 2:50 AM. The train appeared to have been going faster than normal, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, and was investigated to determine whether the braking system was working.
The train was going so fast at the time of the crash that it smashed through a barrier designed to stop trains at the end of the line, jumped the platform, and went up the escalator. None of the injuries in the crash were considered life threatening. Had the accident happened at any time other than early in the morning it could have caused many more injuries or fatalities.
The case is complicated by the fact that the train was not equipped with any video or sound recording devices. However, the train operator did admit she fell asleep at the controls just before the accident. She was later terminated by the CTA.
Those injured in this accident may be confused as to whether they are due compensation for costs of their injuries. Liability may be difficult to determine, and the federal investigation of the incident is still ongoing.
What Are Common Carriers’ Legal Responsibility?
Businesses and entities engaged in the business of transporting people or goods from place to place are “common carriers.” Buses, trains, and light rail are all considered common carriers. These entities are legally responsible for the safety of their passengers and held to a higher standard of care than any average individual. This means that their actions are not compared to those of a “reasonable person” but to a “reasonably careful operator.”
To win a claim, plaintiffs must demonstrate that the transit operator acted negligently. In cases like the March 2014 “L” crash, negligence was clearly the cause of the accident. Other cases may be less clear, but holding common carriers to a higher standard makes it easier for plaintiffs to prove negligence on the part of the carrier.
Are the Transit Authorities Liable?
State and local governments regulate how injury claims are filed against the government and its agencies, like public transit authorities, through Tort Claims Acts. These special rules must be adhered to and plaintiffs must consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Rules could place a cap on the amount of damages that may be recovered from a government entity. An experienced attorney is the only person qualified to determine whether a plaintiff’s case is winnable.
At Eugene K. Hollander Law Offices, we will work tirelessly to ensure you get the best representation possible. We understand the pain and stress of experiencing an accident on public transit and we want to help our clients navigate the complicated trial process. Contact our Chicago office for a free consultation.