Personal Injury Lawyers

Train Accidents

Rockford Train Accident Lawyer

Train Injury Attorney Winnebago County, Illinois

Trains remain an excellent mode of transportation that is free of the traffic worries that plague freeways and highways around Chicago and the suburbs. Elsewhere in Illinois and at the time of writing (2023), all of us in Rockford, Illinois still have not had a return of passenger rail traffic in our area however we are still a central hub of railroad lines crossing our Country and the risks associated with train-based accidents is real. If you or a loved one has been injured in a train based crash or other train based injury, the Law Office of Paul M. Marriett stands ready to assist you.

Assigning Responsibility for the Crash 

Determining who is at fault for a train accident can be a complicated process. For any given train, there are sure to be a variety of parties involved, each of whom could have potentially made mistakes or been negligent in a manner that led to the accident happening and the resultant injuries.

One of the first things your personal injury lawyer will do upon investigating this kind of case is work to figure out which party or parties should be held responsible for the damage that has been done. Some of the possibilities include the following:

  • Railroad owners. Have the railroad companies involved been keeping up with relevant safety standards and maintenance work to make sure the rails are safe to use day after day? Proper records need to be in place to prove that they have been staying on top of all safety requirements.
  • Train manufacturer. The company that built the train is going to need to be examined here too, to ensure that no known defects or faults were present in the train being used at the time of the crash.
  • Rail workers. Those who are working at the time of the crash – including, but not limited to, the conductor – also need to be examined to see what their role may have been in how things unfolded. Working while distracted or intoxicated are just two of many possibilities that can lead to a tragedy.
  • Maintenance companies. Any company that was hired to do work on the maintenance of either the tracks or the rail cars will also come under the microscope to see what role they may have played in the failure of the system.

It’s important to remember that a train accident doesn’t have to be a major, headline-grabbing event to be worthy of a personal injury lawsuit. Even a relatively minor crash can lead to serious injuries that cause the victim to miss time at work, face mounting medical bills, and more. So, even if you or a loved one were not badly injured, it’s still worth your time to explore this case and learn more about how to stand up for your rights.

Evaluating Injuries

There are some patterns and trends to be seen when looking at the kind of damage that is done to people involved in a train crash. While the severity of these injuries is certainly going to vary based on the details of the accident, some of the common outcomes include those listed below:

  • Broken bones. There can be so much force involved in a train accident that it is common for passengers to be thrown around within the cars. When that happens, broken bones are a virtual certainty, as are internal injuries that can cause bleeding and other organ issues.
  • Brain injuries. Again, these are the result of the forces involved and the sudden impact of a crash. Train riders don’t wear helmets, of course, so brain injuries are common and often can be life-altering.
  • Crushing injuries. This category can go along with broken bones, but it includes more dramatic harm that can result in long-term rehabilitation being needed, while the potential for amputation also exists.
  • Fatalities. Sadly, some train accident victims don’t make it through the experience alive. If that has been the case for a member of your family, consider a wrongful death suit as a way to recover the compensation that the surviving members of the family deserve.

Train Accident Statistics

While car accidents are much more common, according to the National Safety Council more than 2,000 train accidents happen every year, resulting in nearly 300 deaths and over 800 injuries. According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Association, motorists are 20 times more likely to die in a train involved accident than a collision involving another motor vehicle. Collisions at railroad crossings occur the most frequently, and 38 percent of all train accidents occur due to negligence, human error, and track issues.

Types of Train Accidents

Railroad Crossing Accidents

These types of accidents can be caused by many different things, below are a few examples:

  • Defective signals and/or gates
  • Trains failing to sound their horns when approaching crossings
  • Trains that fail to use their lights when approaching crossings
  • Trains parked too close to a crossing
  • Objects protruding from a train

Derailment Accidents

Train derailments usually happen due to faulty equipment, here are some common scenarios that lead to train derailments:

  • Faulty tracks
  • Faulty equipment
  • Too much cargo
  • Obstacles on the tracks

Dealing with Insurance Companies

One of the most difficult parts of any personal injury case is dealing with insurance companies. Simply put, the insurance company representing the other side of this case is not your friend, and they do not have your interests at heart. Instead, what they have in mind is settling the case for as little as possible so they can limit their risk and exposure to a large judgment.

Illinois Time Limits on Filing Suit

Illinois sets a time limit of two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. In most cases, this two-year time limit, known as a “statute of limitations,” begins to run on the date of the accident. Sometimes, however, a statute of limitations might run from the date that you discovered you were injured, rather than the date of the event that injured you. This later date is known as a “discovery date.”

For injury claims against a city or county, you have one year to file a lawsuit. The time limit to sue the state is generally two years, but you must file a formal claim within one year to sue.

Choosing the Right Representation

The right Rockford personal injury lawyer for this case is the one who will become invested in the process of making the best possible arguments on your behalf. You don’t want to work with a lawyer who simply takes as many cases as possible in the hopes of winning a few – you want representation that is dedicated to your cause and will fight hard in court and elsewhere to make sure you are heard. Take the time to go through a free consultation process to make sure the lawyer you have in mind is going to pay attention to the details of the case and build a compelling argument in your favor.

Contact A Rockford Train Accident & Injury Lawyer 

If you or a loved one has been injured or involved in a train accident, we are here to help. For a confidential, compassionate, in-depth, free, and, most importantly, thorough consultation with a Rockford Personal Injury Lawyer about your train-related accident injury case in Rockford, Belvidere, Freeport, Rochelle, Oregon, Loves Park, Byron, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Rockton, or elsewhere in the State of Illinois, call or text message us at (815) 391-0089, or e-mail us 24/7/365. We offer in-office consultations, and routinely make visits to clients’ homes, hospital rooms, nursing homes, and other off-site locations to make retaining our services as easy as possible.

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