Perhaps the best known portion of Chicago is The Loop, a section of downtown named after the train tracks that encircle the area. And though it may seem odd that an area was named after the public transit that surrounds it, it seems pretty reasonable if you live in Chicago.
The truth is that the public transit system here helps to keep the city running. If you travel by bus or by train within Chicago, you are part of the estimated 1.7 million rides that the CTA provides each and every weekday to residents and commuters.
The CTA uses 1,356 rail cars over eight separate train routes that snake their way through the city with each route being designated a unique color. Commonly referred to as the “L,” a shorthand version of the word “elevated” which describes the location of much of the track as above the street’s surface, the trains on these tracks cover 224.1 miles and they make about 2,250 trips every day.
Typically, a commuter travels to a station servicing an L train of their choice, pays their fare, and waits on a platform until their train arrives. Then that commuter can board any open car on the train and either sit or stand while the train travels to her destination. Most days, this system works with little to no inconvenience the majority of commuters.
However, multiple incidents involving CTA trains occur every year in Chicago and many of them are injury-producing to the employees and passengers on board. In some less common incidents, others in the area of the train may also be hurt even if they were neither on the train itself nor planning to utilize the train’s services.
Common Types of CTA Train Accidents
CTA trains are susceptible to several kinds of common accidents that can occur along any of the eight lines and at any of the terminal train yards. One of the most serious types of incidents occurs where two or more trains collide.
Trains are spaced so that no two trains are on top of one another on the same track at the same time. When trains get too close to one another, often the following train is instructed to wait at a station to allow the preceding train to gain additional distance, limiting any potential that the trains will collide. Or at least that is how it works in most instances. Trains are still operated by humans and humans are determining their paths at a central dispatching location which leaves these vehicles susceptible to the errors of those humans. When an operator travels too quickly, fails to slow or stop as directed, or otherwise is distracted, one train can collide with another.
On occasion, trains must utilize rails over which they do not normally travel. A broken train blocking a path or a failure along a set of rails are some reasons for this and it can involve a train traveling in one direction utilizing the tracks intended for transit the opposite way. If those responsible for the movements of a train fail to halt traffic in one direction, like north, when an opposing direction train approaches, those two vehicles can collide head-on and a significant impact may result.
Collisions tend to cause some of the greatest injuries in CTA train accidents and they can also lead to another type of incident: a train derailment. Derailments can be caused by an impact or by another force pushing a portion or all of a train off the rails but they can also be caused by other factors. For instance, a speeding train that takes a curve at a rate that is too fast may cause the rail wheels to separate from the track, leading the train to derail. Similarly, a foreign object on the rail can cause a train to “jump the track” and can lead to a derailment of all or a portion of the cars that are attached to the engine.
Still other incidents do not result in harm to the trains themselves but can cause injuries to those on board. If a conductor is operating a train in a fast manner and must stop without warning, inertia can cause passengers to be thrown out of their seats and onto the ground or onto one another, potentially causing harm. Similarly, if a train is not maintained in a safe manner or if there is a defect in a train car, a passenger may be injured without any effect to the rest of the train.
Finally, the CTA employs thousands of workers who operate and service portions of the L tracks and trains. Those workers risk injury when they are performing their job and may be left in need of medical care if they are hurt while falling from elevated tracks, after slipping or tripping on a platform, while lifting heavy objects, or even while coming into contact with the electrified third rail that runs along the tracks.
Legal Relief for CTA Train Accident Victims
Claims against the CTA, its employees, and its owners are different from claims against many other entities because unique laws may apply. For that reason, it is important that victims who are hurt in CTA train accidents or other incidents protect themselves as soon as possible after a crash, and working with a personal injury lawyer is one way to take the steps necessary to preserve your claim.
The law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C. has a history of success when it comes to representing victims of CTA accidents and we continue to put our experience to work for those who need our help. We offer a free case consultation without obligation to victims who call us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we always have a lawyer standing by 24/7 to speak with you. If you prefer, contact us online and one of our attorneys will be able to assist you with your questions about your claim.
If you were hurt or if your loved one was injured or killed in an accident with the CTA, call us now and let us help you get the relief that you deserve.
If a CTA train accident left you with injuries, call Abels & Annes, P.C. now toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free case consultation.