Every four hours, someone is hit by a train in America. These accidents are tragically more common than many think, especially in Chicago, where trains are essential to daily lives. Illinois is ranked 2nd in the country for the most highway-rail crossings, totaling over 14,000. Consequently, it has also led us to be one of the most dangerous states in the nation for fatal railroad incidents.
If you were injured in a train accident, you are not alone in your emotional, physical, and financial recovery. Our award-winning Chicago railroad accident attorneys at Clifford Law Offices have the experience and resources to fight for justice and maximum compensation on your behalf so you can focus on your getting your life back on track. Our firm has obtained over $3 billion by combining our 100 years of train litigation experience to garner the best possible outcomes for clients.
Clifford Law Offices partner Kevin Durkin, a highly-experienced Chicago railroad accident attorney, provides insight and answers common train accident questions below. If you or a loved one was injured while on a train, please keep reading. Additionally, we are always available to discuss your case and answer your questions. Please call us at 312-899-9090 or fill out this online form.
Below are a few helpful FAQs that include insights from Kevin’s train accident FAQs.
Being injured by a train is a unique circumstance because you are one of many potentially wounded passengers.
As soon as possible, seek the medical care you need—your health is always the top priority. Do NOT let the railroad company talk you out of getting medical help right away. Often, railroad companies send their doctors to help injured passengers. Keep in mind that these doctors are also working in a corporation with the railroad company’s legal and insurance teams to minimize injuries, exposure, and possible lawsuits. Therefore, it is vital to get an appointment with your unbiased, personal doctor as soon as possible. Do not shy away from telling your doctor exactly what happened and the details of how you are injured.
After your immediate medical needs are taken care of, seek out highly experienced train accident attorneys. Never provide any statements to investigators, or anyone else, before hiring a railroad accident attorney. You want to ensure that all of your rights are protected and that you are fully informed before proceeding with anything like a recorded statement.
It is important to hire a competent transportation law firm rather than a firm from a specific location. At Clifford Law Offices, we immediately deploy a team of railroad accident experts to preserve the evidence that establishes our clients’ claims because you know the railroad’s insurance company is doing that right away. Our experts and investigators are former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) employees. Their specific railroad expertise, combined with our 100 years of rail experience, plus our firm’s relationships and tools, make us incredibly successful in train accident matters. That is the Clifford difference.
In June 2021, Clifford Law Offices secured $56.78 million for multiple clients who brought personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against Amtrak. In this case, the speeding Amtrak Train 501 had derailed outside of DuPont, Washington. Please view other train accident results here.
On September 25, 2021, an Amtrak train derailed in Montana, killing three passengers and injuring dozens more. Clifford Law Offices is currently representing 42 passengers, who obtained a range of injuries in the accident, in a collection of lawsuits aimed at exposing the negligent conditions of the rail track that caused the incident.
Clifford Law Offices was hired to represent a family injured in the Amtrak derailment on June 27, 2022, in rural Missouri. Four individuals were killed and 150 were injured in this preventable tragedy.
From a strategy standpoint, the handling of Metra and Amtrak train cases is similar. Usually, the engineers have all received the same type of training, and the same rules typically apply to both Metra and Amtrak engineers. However, it is important to know the legal significance of the entities and the restrictions on timing to file suit against government entities. Metra trains operate through the Regional Transportation Authority as a government entity while Amtrak is a federally chartered corporation that operates as a for-profit company. This distinction can lead to differences in how cases are handled, and how negligence is distributed.
When filing a personal injury claim against the state of Illinois rather than a private entity, the plaintiff must follow the laws set in place by The Illinois Court of Claims Act which governs claims brought against the state. In the instance of a case against Metra, additional lawsuit restrictions and statutes apply through this act, requiring the plaintiff to file their claim within one year of the injury. The same laws do not apply to cases against private defendants, such as Amtrak, in which the plaintiff will have two years from the time of injury to file a claim.
Clifford Law Offices was involved in a $35 Million verdict against Metra after Rachel Barton, an internationally acclaimed violinist, was severely injured when the Metra train doors closed on her and dragged her body for several hundred feet. The train was operated under contract with Metra by the Chicago and Northwestern Railway in this situation. Therefore, some of the limitations that may be present for a governmental entity were not present in that case. Additionally, there was the availability of punitive damages because of Metra’s history of not recognizing the problem of people being trapped in the doors of both Metra trains and Chicago Northwestern commuter trains.
While you focus on healing emotionally and physically, Clifford Law Offices can focus on battling big train and insurance companies to recover the compensation you deserve. Discuss your train accident personal injury claim with a free and confidential consultation by calling (312) 899-9090 or filling out this online form.