A Chicago truck accident lawyer at our firm recently read an online news report by Mokena.patch.com detailing the death of a 19-year-old girl from Mokena, Illinois after a Metra train struck her car. The accident occurred late last month on the train tracks near 191st Street and LaGrange Road. Initial findings indicate that the girl’s car was inside of the crossing gates as the train approached around 10pm. Witnesses say that the car came to rest inside of the gates, but clear of the tracks, before the gates were lowered. As the car began driving slowly onto the tracks, witnesses blared their car horns in attempt to warn the driver of the train coming towards her. A Metra spokeswoman stated that the train engineer, traveling inbound from Joliet at 70 miles per hour, spotted the car and threw the train engine into emergency mode to attempt to brake. Metra said the gates were down and warning lights were flashing. Sadly, the car was struck as it reached the second track and the girl was killed at the scene. The report states that on Thursday, the family of the victim filed a complaint in Will Country Court to sue Metra for negligence.
Our Illinois truck accident lawyers are aware of the number and severity of train accidents throughout Illinois, as almost all of these accidents involve property damage, personal injury, medical expenses, and in many cases, death. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), a person or a vehicle is hit by a train in the United State every two hours, totaling about 3,000 accidents each year. Surprisingly, railroad crossings in Illinois are statistically more dangerous in terms of accidents per population. In 2010, Illinois was the second deadliest state in train crossing fatalities out of ten states; there were a total of 27 fatalities in a 12.8 million population in Illinois. This is more than twice the number in much larger states. The FRA is currently making efforts to improve safety near railroads in Illinois and many other states with a high number of train crossing fatalities.
Railroad collisions have many causes, including improper installation of warning devices, improper sight lines that prevent drivers from seeing an oncoming train, failure to properly maintain crossing areas, or other types of negligence that may occur by either the train company or other vehicles involved. Our Illinois truck accident law firm would like to urge the public to be more cautious when traveling near railroad tracks this summer. Nearly half of all collisions at railroad crossings occur when automatic warning devices such a flashing lights or gates are present and are functioning properly. Be aware of these warning devices and avoid train tracks when they are flashing. Be especially alert near train tracks that do not have these warning devices. Many people believe that if they ever crossed the train tracks at an inappropriate time, they would be able to avoid the train, or the train would be able to stop in time. However, most freight trains traveling at about 50 miles per hour take over a mile to stop; the above report stated that emergency brakes were used to try to stop the train, but this was a failed attempt. Therefore, if there is any possibility of a train coming nearby, avoid the train tracks and do not cross them until you are sure you can do so safely.
Although the above report does not confirm who was to blame in the accident, when motorists do suffer serious injuries as a result of a train accident, they have the right to take action. In this case, the victim’s family was able to file a claim in civil court against the train company. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand that train accidents can result in life altering consequences. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in a train accident due to a negligent driver, please contact our team of Chicago truck accident attorneys to learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.