Train accidents can be fatal events that can leave dozens of people seriously injured from a single incident such as a car derailment. Injuries suffered in train-related incidents are often catastrophic and can have life-changing impacts on both the passengers involved and their families.
When the negligence of employees or a train company interferes with the safety and livelihood of passengers, it is important for justice to be served and for those liable to be held accountable.
The team of Chicago train accident attorneys at Clifford Law Offices have decades of experience advocating for justice on behalf of injured passengers. Whether an accident occurs on the CTA, Metra, or Amtrak, our firm is equipped to conduct thorough and independent investigations and take on large companies as well as their insurance providers.
A Nationwide Network
Rail transportation has a critical role in the U.S. transportation system and economy. Millions of travelers rely on trains for daily commutes, crossing state lines, or shipping and receiving goods. According to 2020 transportation and logistics research, there are just under 140,000 miles of track in the U.S. made up of privately owned freight rails, and private and public passenger rails. Amtrak is one of the largest rail operators in the U.S. with a nationwide network covering 21,400 miles of routes providing service on the tracks of “host railroads” owned by other rail companies or Amtrak-owned track.
With over 14,000 total railroad crossings across the state, of which, over 7,500 are highway-rail grade crossings, Illinois has the second largest rail presence per mile in the country. Consequently, these statistics have also led to Illinois’ reputation as one of the most dangerous states in the nation for fatal railroad incidents. Chicago remains heavily reliant on railways for public transportation. On an average weekday, the CTA’s rapid transit system services 1.6 million passengers.
What is the Impact?
According to 2020 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), every four hours a person or a vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S. In 2021 the Federal Railroad Administration reported a total of 8,055 train accidents.
All rail operations must comply with federal and state regulations, including those promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security. Both private and public companies are required to maintain tracks, equipment, and facilities as well as ensure their employees are properly certified and trained. Despite these regulations, the number of accidents and deaths that occur due to railway negligence is alarming.
Causes of Accidents
There are a number of reasons why train accidents occur, and many are related to failure to create and maintain a safe environment for passengers. While every case is unique, the most common causes of train accidents include:
- Human error
- Mechanical failure
- Speedy trains
- Defective tracks
- Unprotected railroad crossings
- Improper maintenance
How We Can Help
Navigating the legal complexities of a train incident is challenging, especially when handling dozens of injuries that resulted from the same accident, a large company such as Amtrak, and aggressive insurance companies. Clifford Law Offices has an extensive history of representing multiple passengers involved in train crashes and derailments and their loved ones over the last several decades. Our firm has obtained over $4 billion in verdicts and settlements by combining the 100 years of train litigation experience among our partners to garner the best possible outcomes for clients:
- $56.78 Million in Settlements in Seattle Amtrak Derailment: Clifford Law Offices obtained a total of $56.78 million in settlements involving the derailment of Amtrak Train 501 outside DuPont, Washington, four years ago. The settlement concludes the cases filed by Clifford Law Offices in Federal District Court involving a speeding Amtrak 501 train that left dozens of people injured and multiple fatalities.
- $35 Million Verdict: Rachel Barton, a 20-year-old gifted violinist, was on her way to teach a class at a suburban Chicago music school when the doors of a Metra commuter train closed on her violin case shoulder strap and other bags, pinning her to the train doors. The train pulled out, dragging Barton nearly 300 feet. By the time she was able to free herself, she was pulled under the train, severely injuring her. Good Samaritans came to her rescue, and following numerous surgeries, she continues to play the violin as a concert soloist.
- $8.5 Million Settlement: Attorneys at Clifford Law Offices represented a married couple who were crushed inside their car when a Union Pacific train derailed from a viaduct in Glenview, Illinois.
If you have been injured in a train accident, you are not alone in your emotional, physical, and financial recovery. Our award-winning team of Chicago railroad accident attorneys at Clifford Law Offices have the experience and resources to fight for justice and maximum compensation on your behalf. Please contact our office by calling us at (800) 899-0410 or (312) 899-9090.