Clifford Law Offices PC
Get Your Free Case Review
Main Menu Email Us

Public Transportation Archives

Fatal Derailment of Amtrak Train in Washington -- Update

The fatal derailment of an Amtrak train occurred on a rebuilt $181 million track corridor that was supposed to make the trip more reliable between Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.Amtrak Cascades 501, with at least 83 people aboard, was the first regular service to use the "bypass" track that goes directly from Tacoma to DuPont, instead of a slow but scenic path along Puget Sound at Tacoma Narrows. Many reports state that the train was taking a curve at a high rate of speed at the time. The National Transportation Safety Board has been summoned to investigate the cause of the crash.The Associated Press, citing an unnamed U.S. official, reported that at least six people were killed in the crash. It is being reported that at least 77 people were taken to area hospitals.Photos and video from the tragic site show train cars dangling off the tracks over Interstate 5. Five cars and two semi trucks below reportedly were crushed by train cars that derailed from the tracks.Gov. Jay Inslee has called a state of emergency in response to the derailment. 

Recalls are Just the Tip of the Iceberg When Buying a Car

With all of the massive recalls going on in America among car manufacturers, it is important to be very cautious and do your homework before buying a new or used car. Here are some interesting statistics: Lemons - Approximately 1 percent of all NEW cars sold each year are lemons, but estimates vary greatly and may be low, as manufacturers are not required to report lemons. Consumer Reports collects data on more than a million cars to publish its list of the 10 least reliable cars at 125 percent below that of the average vehicle - or worse. Click to see what they are and some might surprise you - including the Nissan Altima, the Jeep Cherokee and the Mercedes Benz CLA 250. Laws vary by state, but people who think they own a lemon must file a claim within one to two years of delivery or before reaching a set number of miles. Check your state here.

Know Your Rights and Put the Squeeze on "Lemon" Cars

Lemons are frustrating, and in some cases, dangerous to drive. A lemon most commonly refers to new cars with a substantial defect that is not fixable even after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Every state in the country has its own lemon laws that protect consumers from lemons. Federal law also provides additional protection by detailing guidelines for coverage by the manufacturer's warranty. The BIG catch, however, is that the burden of proof is on the owner of the lemon to prove that the car qualifies for replacement or a refund. How to Make Lemonade from a Lemon Most lemon laws state that buyers are entitled to a remedy if their cars are out of service for an extended number of days due to failure or serviced over extended periods for the same problem. These laws vary by state and by the nature of the repairs covered. Some problems are obvious, like the car not starting, power loss or transmission failure, while others fall into a gray area, such as wind noise, fluid leaks and excessive tire wear. Because of this, remedies can vary greatly in lemon law cases, from full car replacement or repurchase by the manufacturer to small monetary awards to compensate for a minor issue that does not affect driver safety. Here are the steps you should take if you think you might be the proud owner of a brand new, bright yellow lemon: Learn the lemon laws and how a lemon is defined in your state, what is covered and how much time you have to file a complaint. You may only have one year or less after delivery of your new vehicle to take action. Collect all records on your car, including purchase contracts, service orders and invoices together with all warranties and the owner's manual. Take notes on all conversations with the dealer and service technicians, recording any comments along with the time and date of all attempted repairs. Ask the dealer for a copy of all manufacturer's technical service bulletins on your car. Track how long and how often your vehicle is in for repairs with dates, times in and times out. Call a lawyer that specializes in lemon law to help you understand your options and evaluate your case. Normally the call is free, and all legal fees will be paid for by the manufacturer if you win your claim. How to Avoid a Sour Car-Buying Experience A little homework now can help you avoid owning a lemon later. Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware - is really your best defense in avoiding the dreaded lemon. In other words, do your homework before buying a car: Several organizations rate cars on reliability, including Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, Edmunds, The Center for Auto Safety and the Car Complaint Index as published in The Car Book, just to name a few. Look up complaints on the car, van or truck you are considering. Start at and search its national database on recalls, complaints and investigations. Also check for complaints at The Center for Auto Safety. And don't forget Google and social media: Ask others in your network if they know anything about the cars you are considering. Go with a reputable dealer that is authorized to sell cars by the manufacturer. Test drive all of your options and be hyperalert for noises or poor handling. If something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts. Learn your state's lemon laws so you know what to do if something goes wrong. And finally, once you have purchased a car, be sure to file away all the maintenance reports and receipts in a safe place (not in the car) just in case you need the documentation later. Learn more here from WikiHow, including tips on buying a dependable used car. - See more at:

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Family of Woman Killed on CTA Bus; Media Coverage Includes New Information

Clifford Law Offices yesterday filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of the two adult children who lost their mom when a speeding Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus reportedly ran a red light and careened into pedestrians in a crosswalk and on a sidewalk before crashing into a concrete wall during rush hour at crowded Michigan and Lake in Chicago's downtown last Tuesday. Several media outlets including WBBM-AM radio, Fox News, WGN-TV and NBC Chicago interviewed attorneys at the firm handling the matter including partners Robert A. Clifford, Kevin P. Durkin, Judge Henry R. Simmons (Ret.) and Sean P. Driscoll. Clifford Law Offices Managing Partner Hon. Henry R. Simmons (Ret.) speaks with Tisha Lewis of Fox News Chicago

Clifford Law Offices Files Complaint for Woman Killed by CTA Bus

Chicago based personal injury law firm, Clifford Law Offices has filed a wrongful death complaint on behalf of the family of Aimee Coath who was killed last Tuesday, June 2nd by a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus. The fifty-one year old woman from Flossmoor, Illinois was struck by a CTA bus that according to reports ran a red light during rush hour and moved swiftly in an uncontrolled way through a crosswalk and sidewalk packed full of pedestrians. The CTA bus finally crashed into a concrete wall Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. The complaint was filed today in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges that the CTA bus driver failed to control his bus in total disregard for a red light, plus the driver exceeded the speed limit. The Chicago Transit Authority and the bus driver are named defendants in the case. Coath's two surviving adult children, Elaine and John Wilson are the plaintiffs in the matter. The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices have an expansive amount of experience against the Chicago Transit Authority. Cases including a $24.14 Million verdict on behalf of the family of a boy who was stuck and left permanently brain damaged by a CTA bus in Chicago in 1991. It was notable at the time as the largest damage award in the state of Illinois. For more up to date information regarding this case and the recent CTA bus crash tragedy visit our personal injury blog:

Investigators Reveal that CTA Bus Driver Ran Red Light Before Tragic Crash in Downtown Chicago at Rush Hour

Authorities have ticketed the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus driver who allegedly ran a red light last night before crashing into pedestrians and cars, leaving one person killed and eight others injured, including a child, according to the latest media reports. The part-time driver had been on the job for less than a year. Apparently he ran a red light at Michigan Avenue and East Lake Street about 6 p.m. Chicago police reportedly ticketed the driver for failure to stop at a red light and failure to exercise due caution. The driver was taken to nearby Northwestern Memorial Hospital for non-life-threatening head injuries. The 51-year-old mother of two adult children who died is being remembered with flowers and cards at the scene of the tragic incident. We all pray for her family.

One Woman Dies Following Tragic CTA Bus Crash at Michigan and Lake in Chicago

The Chicago Medical Examiner's Office has just confirmed that one person has died as a result of the tragic bus crash at the evening rush hour today at a busy Chicago intersection. A woman who apparently was struck by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus has died. Eight others were injured and a person remains in critical condition this evening as four area hospitals were involved in treating people involved in this tragedy. Among those transported, according to media reports, included the bus driver, the only person on the bus at the time it struck pedestrians and four vehicles before jumping a curb and hitting a concrete wall. Many witnesses appeared shaken as they told the press and police what they observed. Many tried to help those who were hurt by the bus and apparently a few people were injured at the scene but refused treatment. The bus was removed from the scene about 8 p.m.

CTA Bus Crash in Chicago Injures Nine on Michigan Avenue, Two in Critical Condition

A CTA bus crashed at Lake Street and Michigan Avenue at the evening rush hour Tuesday (June 2, 2015) leaving nine people injured, two of them critically, according to officials at the scene. The No. 148 Clarendon/Michigan Express bus reportedly was heading east on East Lake Street about 6 p.m. when it struck at least one pedestrian in a crosswalk and four vehicles, according to media reports. At least 10 ambulances were called to the scene, according to witnesses. The bus was a longer accordion-style vehicle and traffic was being re-routed around the area while the injured were being taken to area hospitals. One witness told NBC-5 Chicago News that the bus ran up a curb and hit a concrete wall. A person was pinned under the vehicle itself, according to witnesses. NBC News is reporting that one person may have been killed. Reporters there also are saying that the bus driver was hurt with the front windshield knocked out.

Statement of Kevin Durkin, Co-lead Counsel in Bourbonnais Amtrak Crash that Killed 11, Injured 100+

  ​This week's Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia is a tragedy, as is the decades-long failure of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Amtrak to provide safe, positively controlled rail transportation to patrons across the county, particularly in the Northeast region. As the NTSB and its parties continue to sort through the rubble and uncover what caused this horrific event Tuesday evening, one thing that appears reasonably clear is that the passengers aboard this speeding train, those who paid for their tickets in return for the reasonable expectation of a safe passage, were the victims of gross negligence.   While this negligence is likely attributable to the train's engineer in part, there may also be blame to spread amongst the FRA and Amtrak for their failure to require and implement Positive Train Control (PTC) in some fashion throughout the track on which Amtrak operates.  The NTSB has made PTC recommendations for decades, in part because this is not the first time Amtrak engineers have more than doubled the posted speed limit in a curve and caused derailments with hundreds of injuries.  On December 12, 1990, an Amtrak train derailed after speeding in a curve at Boston's Back Bay, injuring hundreds, closing the track for weeks, and causing millions in track and other infrastructure damage.  Despite Amtrak's attempts to intentionally erase the event recorder data from that locomotive, the NTSB recovered the data and found that the engineer was operating the train at more than double the speed limit, causing it to derail.   Initial investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board into this Philadelphia Amtrak accident reveal that the passenger train attempted to circumvent a curve in the tracks at 106 mph, more than double the speed limit of 50 mph. In fact, the train should have never even approached speeds of 100 mph, as the speed limit of the strip of track immediately before the curve was only 80 mph. The result is that eight passengers have died and hundreds more were injured and transported to hospitals. This is unacceptable.  FRA and Amtrak should have long learned their lesson from the 1990 Back Bay crash and implemented PTC throughout Amtrak territory.   Amtrak serves more than 30 million people annually - once again the safety of their operation and commitment to PTC and accident prevention has been called into serious doubt.   Amtrak is now saying it will look to implement PTC to prevent such accidents but after 25 years of reason and opportunity to do so, without fulfillment, they will likely pay dearly in reputation, trust, and tort settlements for this crash and the pain and suffering it has heaped on its passengers and their families.   ​I served as Co-Lead Counsel in the litigation involving the crash of an Amtrak train in Bourbonnais, Illinois, among other railway accidents. In order for the victims of this crash and their families to sort through this complicated morass that is certain to play out in America's legal justice system, they need to think carefully about how to protect themselves as well as other future passengers, making a clear statement that this type of conduct will no longer be tolerated and together they can become a strong voice for change, real change, that will help make other travelers safer in the future.   Kevin P. Durkin is a partner at Clifford Law Offices, a national recognized personal injury and wrongful death firm that concentrates in transportation litigation.  To learn more about Durkin's experience as well as the transportation team of attorneys at the Chicago-based firm, please visit Durkin is available to speak to the press on the legal ramifications of the Amtrak derailment and train crash liability and how that litigation plays out in the courts against various defendants.  To reach Durkin for an interview, contact Clifford Law Offices' Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 or email her at or

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.