It is hard to picture Chicago without its network of public transportation options because they are so ingrained in the city’s identity. Whether you utilize one of the many public buses, take a ride on the “L,” use a commuter train or even benefit from a school bus for your child, odds are that you find yourself using or dealing with public transportation with some regularity. Which also means your more at risk of having a unfortunate injury accident needing the legal help from a skilled chicago public transportation lawyer.
Put simply, public transportation is a means by which the public at large can move about from place to place in a ride share format. Whether it is by train, plane, or bus, people who do not know one another can take to a form of public transit and can travel as a group with each passenger responsible for his or her own fare. Many forms of public transit travel along fixed, pre-assigned routes which let passengers embark at one designated area and disembark at a separate point but other forms function more freely, without preordained transit lines restricting their movement. Below the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & annes, P.C. discuss the major forms of public transportation in Chicago and common issues they cause.
Public Transportation Options in Chicago
Since 1952, the biggest provider of public transit in the Chicago area has been the Chicago Transit Authority, known by most as the CTA. The CTA reports that it provides 83 percent of all public transit trips in the six-county Chicago metropolitan area either directly or with connecting service through Metra and Pace so its position within the public transit landscape cannot be overstated.
The CTA experiences its highest passenger traffic on weekdays when approximately 1.7 million rides are provided to residents, commuters, and travelers around the Chicago area. Many of those rides are taken on the CTA’s trains which run either on elevated tracks or in underground subways depending on the train line and location of the tracks at any particular point. The elevated nature of the trains have given rise to the popular nickname, the “L,” which is used to refer to any of the CTA’s train routes that run in the city and in the immediately surrounding areas. CTA operates eight different train lines over 224.1 miles of track and utilizes 146 train stations each day.
The other major type of transit offered by the CTA is bus transit. As of spring 2014, the CTA operated 1,865 buses on 128 different fixed routes that cover 1,354 miles. Riders who utilize the CTA buses can pick up their bus at one of the CTA’s 11,104 bus stops around Chicago and can hop between buses and routes through the use of the CTA’s transfer fares.
Though the CTA is the biggest provider of public transportation in Chicago, it is not the only entity that offers rides to the public at large. For example, the city’s location on the river causes some of its streets to wind and can slow down those who wish to move about the downtown area. In response, several water taxis are available and are utilized during the spring, summer, and fall months by commuters among several points downtown when weather permits.
Other Transit Options for the Chicago Public
Many people in the Chicago area live in the suburbs and commute into the city. That commute can be made much more easily with the aid of public transportation, and often by train. Metra, the commonly used name for the Metropolitan Rail Corporation, operates 11 different railway lines that provide service to 241 different stations. Over the last 15 years, Metra has been the busiest commuter rail system in the United States outside of the New York City metropolitan area and in 2014, Metra provided 83.4 million passenger rides to those in and around Chicago.
Metra operates each of its lines on a set time schedule and charges its passengers a fare based upon the distance traveled from one station to another. Metra lines run in all directions extending from the City of Chicago and most stations receive service on weekdays as well as weekends.
Metra is not the only commuter train option in Chicago, though, as Amtrak also services the city. Amtrak is partially funded by the government and offers both short and long distance transit for those around Illinois. Commuters can take an Amtrak train into the city or back to a suburb every day or they can board a train in Chicago and travel all the way across the nation. With service to more than 500 destinations in 46 states, Amtrak can provide a convenient means of interstate travel to many.
And for those who plan to travel outside of Chicago, utilizing the services of Megabus may be an attractive option. With discounted fares, Wifi capabilities, and limited stops along designated routes, Megabus is an option for a large percentage of the Illinois population who prefer to travel by bus.
Public Transportation Accidents in Chicago
Chicago is a city with many options when it comes to getting around town, and everyone who comes to the city can find something that works for them as a result. Most of these commuters and travelers will avoid any major issues but for some, a car accident, train crash, or even a bus collision may result and may leave them wondering about their legal options.
If a passenger is injured in a public transportation incident in Chicago, that passenger may possess legal rights that entitle him or her to seek relief through the use of a civil claim. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help victims realize what options are available to them and whether they have a valid claim as the facts surrounding an accident are important in determining what legal rights are available.
If you were hurt in a public transit crash or if someone you loved was injured or killed, contact the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation. We can be reached toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442), locally at (312) 924-7575, or online and we have a licensed lawyer standing by to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we never charge our clients a fee unless we make a recovery on their behalf and we fight for the best possible outcome in every case we handle. If you need answers, call us today and let us get to work for you.
Chicago Public Transportation Accident Lawyer FAQ
According to the Chicago Transit Authority, approximately 1.6 million people ride a city bus or train every day in the city. For the most part, this service is a safe and efficient option for travelers who cannot or choose not to drive throughout Chicago. But just like other modes of transportation, the Regional Transportation Authority’s system—which includes Metra and L trains, as well as CTA and PACE buses, is not perfect.
For example, a CTA bus recently crossed over the center median before slamming into a tree. Four people went to the hospital after the accident, one with serious injuries. While accidents like this are rare, a quick web search shows Metra, PACE, and CTA bus and L train accidents happen far more often than they should.
If you were injured in a public transportation accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. To learn more, contact our experienced Chicago public transportation attorneys.
Below, we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Chicago public transportation accidents.
What should I do after an accident?
As drivers, riders, and pedestrians, we often take public transportation for granted. We assume the bus or train operator has the experience to safely operate the vehicle and will not cause an accident. Unfortunately, this is not always true. As such, you need to know what to do in the event of an accident.
While the steps you take may vary depending on the specifics of the accident and the degree of your injuries, generally you should:
- Stay at the scene: Accidents can be chaotic. If you are a passenger, you may feel tempted to walk away to avoid all the mayhem. Don’t. Whether you are a rider, pedestrian, or another driver, stay on the scene. You may start to feel pain a short time later, and your statements may help first responders at the accident scene.
- Check for injuries: After a serious injury, get medical attention. If you or someone else has a life-threatening injury, call 911. Even if you feel only minor pain, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are injury-free. Trauma and adrenaline can mask the immediate symptoms of even a serious injury, making it important to consult a medical professional as soon as possible following an accident.
- Gather evidence: If you have your phone on you, now is the time to take it out. Take pictures and video of what happened, including any vehicle or property damage. Evidence of an accident can make a big difference in your Chicago public transit case.
- File a report: The best way to file a report after a CTA, Metra, or PACE accident is to call the police. The police can come to the scene and take statements and gather any relevant evidence.
- Go to the doctor: Bus or train accidents are serious. Don’t wait to seek medical attention. If you can, go to the doctor right away if necessary.
- Contact a Chicago public transportation attorney: You have rights after an accident. Serious injuries can cause substantial physical and economic pain. You don’t have to do it alone. An experienced Chicago public transportation lawyer can talk to you about your rights and help process your case.
Do I have the same rights as a pedestrian as I would a motorist?
The short answer is, yes. The law allows all victims the right to file a Chicago public transit suit after an accident that was not their fault. Whether you were on foot or in a vehicle, what matters is that you were injured through the negligence of another party. Accordingly, you should be entitled to compensation.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
The law limits how long you have to file a lawsuit after an accident or injury. Under the state’s statute of limitations, victims usually have two years from the date of an accident to take legal action. However, you only have one year to file a lawsuit against the above-discussed defendants (CTA, PACE, Metra). If you fail to meet this deadline, the court will dismiss your case. This may seem like a long time, but public transportation accidents are complex. You need to allow your attorney enough time to properly prepare your case.
How much is my case worth?
Money is a common concern after an accident. And it makes sense. Medical bills and lost time at work can take a serious toll on your finances. A Chicago public transportation lawyer can help you recover some of these costs and help you get back on your feet. Unfortunately, every public transportation accident is unique, and it’s impossible to predict the value of a case without a thorough analysis of the facts.
That said, injured people may seek several common forms of damages following a public transportation accident in Chicago.
While each case is different, you can expect your Chicago public transit lawyer to see if you qualify to recover:
- Current and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
Do I need a Chicago public transit attorney?
A Chicago public transit attorney can help expedite your case and take care of all settlement negotiations. Additionally, the truth is that insurance companies almost always offer a larger settlement to parties who have an attorney. Many companies would prefer a reasonable settlement than face ongoing litigation. That’s why you need to at least sit down with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
What’s more, the CTA, Metra, and PACE all have teams of lawyers to represent them in cases like yours. You need someone who knows how to take them on, and has the results to prove it.
To learn more or to start a personal injury case, contact an experienced Chicago public transportation attorney.
If you have been hurt in a public transportation accident, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free case consultation.