When Cars and Trains Collide

Our Chicago car accident lawyers understand that accidents can happen, even when utmost care is used. A recent series of car-train accidents highlights the need for all drivers to use caution on the roadways. A car-train accident is one of the most catastrophic types of accidents that we help clients recover from, because trains typically travel at high speeds and carry heavy loads of cargo. Car-train accidents almost always result in serious personal injuries or death.

At least three car-train accidents have happened recently in Chicago and nationwide that drivers should be aware of. Although some accidents may be unavoidable, drivers should proceed with extreme care on the roadways and the railways to avoid serious consequences.

The first incident involved the crashing of a car into a Metro Blue Line train in downtown Los Angeles on September 14, 2012. The crash was reported before 1 p.m. at Broadway and Washington Boulevard. Police are still investigating what caused the crash..

Another similar incident took place close to 10 pm at the Raymond Street Crossing just a few days earlier. There were four occupants in the vehicle at the time, including a 5-year-old boy and a 14-month old girl. The car crashed into a Metra train in the northwest suburbs, injuring all four of the occupants. The driver, an Elgin man, was cited with consumption of alcohol by a minor, not having a valid driver’s license, operating an uninsured vehicle and driving too fast for conditions.

The third incident happened in Rosedale at 12:30 in the afternoon and involved a collision between a CSX Corp train and a vehicle. The train, with its three locomotives and eight freight cars, was moving north from Jacksonville, Fla to North Bergen, NJ when it hit the vehicle. The gray Volvo had almost crossed the train tracks before it was hit and pushed into a nearby ditch. The intersection did not have barrier arms that move down when a train is moving through. Barrier arms are an important safety device that can help prevent serious injuries and fatalities. In this particular case, the intersection only had a sign that warned of trains.

Apart from the factors described in the above incidents, car-train accidents and other types of accidents can result from factors such as these:

  • Distraction of the driver including talking to passengers, talking to someone on the phone, emailing, texting, changing the radio station, attempting to pick up a fallen item, or grooming or eating in the car
  • Flawed auto parts
  • Careless road layout and design – there are some roads which have earned a bad reputation for being auto accident “black spots” for reasons such as surface conditions, alignment, visibility and road markings
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driving with excessive drug content in the body
  • Unsafe road conditions such as substances or foreign obstacles on the surface of the road, pot holes and other forms of road damage; snow, ice or rain
  • Mechanical failure of the car such as brake failure, blown/flat tires, steering mechanism failure or axle failure

Clearly, there are many reasons that a car-train accident may happen. When cars and trains collide, the consequences are often deadly. When this type of accident happens, it is important to contact an Illinois car accident lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights.

Train accidents can take a heavy toll on victims, both emotionally and financially. Whether you were a driver or passenger in the train or car that was involved in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.