Chicago Commuter Train Derails, Hits Semi

Train accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that a Metra train recently crashed into a semitrailer, injuring two people in a northwest Chicago suburb. The westbound train was pulling into the Bartlett train station when it hit the semi, around 3:30 pm on Monday, October 21, 2013.

The semitrailer was carrying several cars when it was hit, sending debris onto both sides of the track. The Metra’s front car derailed and was severely damaged in the crash. The two injured were both passengers on the Metra train at the time and were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Fortunately, the driver of the semi-truck was not injured.

State and federal officials are currently investigating the scene and witnesses to determine the cause of the crash. Just a few months ago, a lawsuit was filed against Metra on behalf of an employee who was struck and killed by a commuter train. His family subsequently filed a lawsuit against Metra, where the man worked for 12 years.

The family of 36-year-old Luis Mercado argues that Metra was negligent and directly caused his premature death. Mercado was struck by an Electric District train near 47th Street in Chicago. He was performing maintenance work on the track with several other Metra employees. His family is now seeking about $50,000 in damages.

In related transportation news, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently launched an investigation into reported problems with the brakes in Hyundai Genesis cars. The 40,000 affected luxury cars are model year 2009 and many drivers have reported having to push the brakes harder than normal to stop, at least one causing an accident. It is speculated that the problem is caused by defective anti-lock brake system modules.

The accident caused by faulty brakes occurred in South Florida, when the driver was going about 30 miles per hour. She approached a long line of cars stopped at a red light and stepped on the gas pedal to slow down, pushing it all the way down to the floor, however, her Hyundai Genesis failed to stop. She kept pumping the brakes to no avail, ultimately hitting the car in front of her, causing minor damage. Her Hyundai was towed to a nearby mechanic shop, where they drained and replaced the brake fluid but were unable to duplicate the problem.

She then took the car to her Hyundai dealer, where she was told the parts would not be replaced. She stated that she and her family now feel wholly unsafe driving the vehicle. Another driver filed a complaint with the automaker, alleging their brakes failed four times. The driver took the Hyundai into the dealer to have the brake master cylinder replaced, however, the problem persisted. The driver stated that it was just a matter of time before a crash and potential injury would occur.

The NHTSA investigators will determine whether the problems are large or dangerous enough to necessitate a national recall. A similar issue was exposed in April 2013, causing Hyundai to recall about 1.1 million vehicles, including Accents, Santa Fe SUVs, Elantras, and Tucsons among others. The air bags and brake lights were defective in these vehicles. Less than a year earlier, in July 2012, about 200,000 Santa Fe SUVs were again recalled because of faulty air bags.

Certain parts of a vehicle, like the air bags and brakes, need to work adequately all the time. If air bags fail to deploy during just one crash, the effects can be devastating and even fatal. The same applies to brakes. The problems with the Santa Fe airbags were with the occupant classification system, meaning many could not detect the presence of smaller adults. SUVs are most commonly purchased for family use, and an airbag system’s inability to recognize small adults in these cars is unacceptable. The defects ultimately resulted in a putative class action lawsuit.

Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have over two decades of experience working with victims of auto, bus, train, motorcycle and truck accidents. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a crash caused by the carelessness of another, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills and property damage, and should contact a skilled attorney today for a free legal evaluation.


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