- Train malfunction – Trains have many moving parts that can malfunction and cause an operator to lose control. Liability can arise if Metra failed to adequately inspect, maintain, or repair a train that crashed.
- Employee error – Train operators can be negligent like anyone else. Distracted driving, fatigued driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs2 can all lead an operator to make mistakes that cause a crash. In addition, other employees who are supposed to be watching for possible derailments or similar events may not be paying attention and may miss signs that a crash may occur.
- Defective or malfunctioning crossing gates or crossing lights – A problem at a railroad crossing related to lights or gates can be a recipe for disaster with catastrophic injuries or fatalities. If the malfunction is due to the negligence of Metra or any other third party, the victims can pursue a legal claim. As recently as 2012, a train accident led to a wrongful death lawsuit being filed in Cook County alleging that the crossing gates malfunctioned due to the negligence of the defendants.
- Inadequate security – Many people take Metra trains to and from Cubs games, Blackhawks games, concerts, and other popular events in Chicago. When trains are crowded with people who may be intoxicated, there is a high risk of arguments that could escalate to physical violence. If there is an inadequate security plan and proper action is not taken, Metra could be liable.
- Injuries while boarding – Injuries can also happen to passengers who are getting on or off a Metra train. Doors may malfunction, passengers may trip and fall, or the train may start moving at the wrong time, all of which can cause serious injuries.
Holding Metra Liable for Public Transit Accidents In a single year, more than 82 million people used Metra commuter trains,1 to travel in and out of the Chicagoland area. Because Metra provides such a major source of transportation for hundreds of thousands of people every day, safety is a primary concern. Any type of motor vehicle has the potential to crash for a variety of reasons and the following are some examples of how accidents and injuries can occur during your Metra trip.