Bloomington is home to passenger rail services that run multiple trains daily between St. Louis and Chicago. These busy railways serve commuters and visitors alike. Though uncommon, a train accident can happen. Whether a poorly marked gap between the train and the platform causes a fall or a derailing event occurs, the resulting injuries can significantly impact your life.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a train accident, speaking to a Bloomington train accident lawyer could be the first step towards obtaining a recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney could investigate the accident and help you negotiate fair compensation for your personal injury lawsuit.
Common Causes of Locomotive Accidents
The cause of a train accident is crucial to determining who is liable for the train crash and, thus, your injuries. Some of the common issues that cause train wrecks include:
- Compliance or inspection violations
- Inadequate maintenance
- Reckless train operation
- Slick, oily, or wet platforms
- Tripping hazards
- Objects on train tracks, such as stopped automobiles
Train operators are responsible for complying with the Federal Department of Transportation regulations. When they do not, and an injury occurs, proof of non-compliance can be highly effective in helping someone harmed in a train crash prove liability and get compensated for their injuries.
Even without a regulatory breach, train operators owe a duty to passengers to ensure their safe travel by taking reasonable measures to keep them from harm. A violation of this duty that causes injury and damages can render the train operator negligent. Negligence is a concept of tort law often employed in such personal injury cases.
What is Common Carrier Liability?
Common carriers are motorized forms of transport that move passengers or goods in exchange for money. Trolleys, trains, and buses are examples of common carriers. Since transporting people is the primary function and role filled by common carriers, they have a heightened legal duty to their passengers.
Negligence is usually the legal theory for train accident cases. A negligence claim is based on the carrier owing a duty to the plaintiff and breaching its duty. Some of the responsibilities a common carrier must comply with are performing thorough checks for out-of-date, malfunctioning, or dangerous equipment, maintaining trains and tracks, and adequately vetting, hiring, training, supervising, and not overworking employees. Failure to meet these duties can result in common carrier liability.
Calculating Damages in Train Accidents
Since train collisions can result in serious injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord and back trauma, lacerations, burns, or permanent disability, injured parties often require extensive medical attention, especially if they’ve suffered catastrophic injuries from the accident. This can cause a person to accrue substantial medical expenses. A claimant can seek reimbursement for medical bills, as well as future medical expenses likely to be required, in an insurance company settlement negotiation or lawsuit.
Additionally, an injured person can seek lost wages from time taken off work and lost earning capacity, whether on a temporary or permanent basis. In a personal injury lawsuit, a claimant can also solicit damages for the physical pain and mental suffering they have endured due to an accident.
In a fatal accident, the surviving kin of the deceased can seek compensation for losing their loved one’s companionship, earnings, and household contributions in a wrongful death lawsuit. Awards or settlements usually include medical bills incurred before death and funeral expenses. An experienced personal injury attorney could explain what damages are available to a claimant, depending on the facts of the train wreck.
Personal Injury Law
Navigating the personal injury legal system can be overwhelming, but personal injury lawyers can help. Understanding personal injury legal terms can help make this process go smoothly. Some important concepts to know include:
- Negligence: Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence standard, which means you can recover damages if you’re less than 50% responsible for the accident. The compensation you earn may be reduced by the percentage of fault you’re responsible for.
- Statute of limitations: In Illinois, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is set at two years, meaning you have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
- Settlement amounts: The settlement amount is how much you earn for your damages. Your settlement amount depends on many factors, such as the severity of injuries, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Consult Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
Though train operators should prioritize the safety and security of passengers, they do not always deliver a secure and injury-free environment. Hazardous situations may cause an injury that could harm you or a loved one for an extended time or permanently.
A Bloomington personal injury lawyer could help you pursue compensation for your personal injury claims. You can focus on healing while your lawyer prepares a compelling case for negotiation or trial. Contact an experienced train accident lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.