Assisting Chicago Metra Train Accident Victims Prove Fault and Damages in Personal Injury Cases
The Chicago Metra Rail System is a commuter rail service located in the Chicago metropolitan area. The System currently operates 242 stations and has 11 separate rail lines. Moreover, it is the fourth busiest commuter rail system in the United States. As of a few years ago, 83.4 million passengers utilized the System. However, the breadth of the Chicago Metra train system makes the potential for accidents all the more likely.
In order to recover compensation in a Chicago Metra accident case, an injured passenger must be able to demonstrate that the train operator, Metra, or some other entity or agency was responsible for causing the accident. Every personal injury train accident case consists of two components: liability and damages. The liability portion of the case goes to fault, or responsibility, for the accident; while damages go to the amount necessary to compensate the injured victim.
In most train accident cases, drivers, governmental entities, and their insurers try to limit their liability exposure to the greatest extent possible. Therefore, it is important that you have a Chicago train accident lawyer representing you at all times throughout your case.
If you have sustained serious injuries and damages in a Chicago Metra train accident, the train accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. may be able to help you prove the legal elements of your personal injury claim, including the nature and extent of your injuries and damages.
Mechanics of Injury
During a Metra train accident, passengers can be thrown around the rail car or violently thrashed forwards and backwards in their seats. This can lead to the potential for soft tissue injuries and even bone fractures. Because Metra trains are often very crowded – especially during rush hour – standing passengers can be thrown to the floor and suffer a broken bone or serious closed head injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, in the event of an accident.
Proving Responsibility on the Part of the Metra Train Operator
In order to successfully prove negligence against the train operator, the injured train passenger must be able to show that the operator deviated from the standard of care. A Metra train operator may violate the standard of care by engaging in distracted operation or by operating the train in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner under the circumstances (e.g., exceeding the posted train speed limit). An operator may also violate the standard of care if he or she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time the accident occurs.
Assuming the train driver engages in negligent operation, the injured passenger must also be able to show that this violation resulted in injury and damages. Injuries originating from some other source are generally not compensable as part of a personal injury case. However, if the Metra train accident exacerbates a preexisting injury or medical condition, the victim may establish liability to the extent the accident worsened that injury or condition.
If the train driver was driving carefully and did not do anything wrong, the injured train passenger must be able to show that another train driver negligently collided with the train. In some cases, train dispatchers may ultimately be on the hook for negligence if they fail to do their jobs correctly and a train accident ensues.
A Chicago Metra train accident attorney can take the appropriate legal action against a negligent train operator who causes an accident.
Proving that Metra or Some Other Governmental Entity Was Negligent
Metra is controlled by the State of Illinois and operated by its subsidiary, the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation. This entity was created as a separate rail subsidiary which operates seven different Metra routes. Metra also contracts with the Union Pacific and the BNSF Railways to operate four additional Metra routes.
In addition to naming the negligent train operator as a liable party, an injured passenger could – and probably should – name Metra or one of its subsidiaries as potential defendants when filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Any of these governmental or quasi-governmental entities could be held vicariously liable for the train driver’s negligence, as well as for all of the train passenger’s injuries and damages. In order for Metra or one of its subsidiaries to share in some or all of the potential liability, the following must be true:
- The at-fault train operator must have been employed by Metra at the time the accident took place
- The train operator must have been acting within the scope of his or her employment (i.e. been on the job) at the time the accident occurred.
- The injured train passenger may also be able to allege that Metra or one of its subsidiaries was negligent in hiring, retaining, or supervising the train operator – especially in cases where the operator has a prior history of accidents, moving violations, or infractions.
When a governmental entity is a potential defendant, there may be special notice requirements that apply. These notice requirements may be shorter than the two-year statute of limitations generally applicable to many Illinois personal injury cases.
A Chicago Metra train accident attorney can ensure that all of the proper defendants are brought into your case and that a timely claim or lawsuit is filed.
Call a Chicago Metra Train Accident Lawyer Today for Legal Help Resolving Your Case
A Chicago Metra accident lawyer can review your case and may be able to help you prove fault and damages. Insurance companies are not on your side, and they vigorously defend Metra train accident cases. You need a lawyer on your side who will fight for your right to recover compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. can negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf or take your case to trial if a favorable resolution is not reached.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, please call us today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.