Railroad Crossing Collisions
Geneva Railroad Crossing Accident Attorneys
When Accidents Happen in Kane County, Trust Turner & Sackett Law Offices
In Illinois, every railroad company is legally obligated to ensure that each railroad crossing is safe for pedestrians and motor traffic. A malfunctioning railroad crossing light, faulty crossing gate, or silent warning alerts can result in catastrophic railroad crossing collisions. When this happens, the railroad company is held liable and victims can seek compensation due to negligence. However, pursuing damages is often difficult due to railroad companies using the argument that trains have the right-of-way because of their inability to instantly stop or derail from the track.
Regardless of whether the railroad company attempts to repudiate any claims, Turner & Sacket Law Offices will work tirelessly to pursue the compensation you are rightfully owed. With years of experience handling personal injury cases, our dedicated railroad crossing accident attorneys in Geneva and Kane County have achieved multiple successful settlements, including cases worth millions of dollars.
Causes of Railroad Crossing Accidents
While it is often the driver’s responsibility to avoid a train accident due to the difficult nature of a train quickly evading imminent collisions, it doesn’t automatically place the driver at fault. On some occasions, fault is placed on the railroad companies for their failure to exercise ordinary duty of care, putting the public at risk of danger.
Other times, faulty design of a railroad crossing is the root of the problem. Properly designed railroad crossings should give conductors enough distance for trains to have proper breaking clearance as well as have warning systems for drivers that alert drivers of an incoming train well before it is in sight.
A jury takes many things into consideration when determining whether a railroad crossing is a safety hazard, including whether there was:
- A crossing gate failure, such as a malfunctioning crossing arm
- A line-of-sight obstruction
- A crossing with improper signage
- A negligently marked or designed crossing
- A failure to sound alarm or horns
Other causes of railroad crossing accidents range from negligent train engineers to a train travelling well above the speed limit.
How Common Are Railroad Crossing Accidents?
According to recent data, railroad crossing accident statistics indicate that this type of accident is far more common than most people would like to believe:
- Illinois is one of the five states with the most railroad crossings intersecting with public roads
- Of all of the public railroad crossings in the U.S., only about 36% have gates to deter vehicles from crossing when a train is present
- In 2015 there were over 2,000 railroad crossing accidents, resulting in over 200 deaths and over 900 injuries
According to preliminary statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 2,214 railroad crossing collisions in 2018 resulting in 270 fatalities and 819 injuries. Many of these collisions occur at unprotected or passive crossings, which are those with no more than a railroad crossing sign. In fact, the majority of railroad crossings do not have warning devices such as lights and/or gates, making them extremely dangerous. When there is a railroad collision accident at an unprotected crossing, multiple parties can be held liable.
Liable parties may include:
- The operating railroad company
- The track owner
- The train designer or manufacturer
- The county or city
- The vehicle driver or pedestrian
If you or a loved one was harmed in a railroad crossing collision, contact our Geneva railroad crossing accident lawyers at (800) 653-0198 or through our online form. We offer free consultations and legal services in both English and Spanish.
What is the average settlement for a personal injury?
Because every personal injury claim is different, it is difficult to determine an average settlement. A victim who lost a limb will likely need to receive more in medical expenses than someone who broke an arm, for instance. This means that personal injury claims tend to average anywhere between $3000 to $75,000—an extremely broad range. An attorney can help you estimate your unique losses based on the facts of your case. You should be entitled to make up for your specific losses at the very least.
What evidence is needed for a personal injury claim?
Necessary evidence can vary case by case depending on the specifics of your situation. However, one of the most helpful pieces of evidence is your medical records. If you can prove that you sought medical attention for a serious injury after an accident, you are more likely to receive compensation to cover the expenses associated with said injury. Other helpful evidence includes any photographs of the accident scene, accident reports, witness statements, insurance forms, receipts, and any other physical evidence related to the injury.
What is the personal injury statute of limitations in Illinois?
Under state law, the statute of limitations (or deadline) for most personal injury claims in Illinois is two years from the date of the accident. However, for claims against governmental agencies, there are special limitation periods that may be as short as a year. You should always consult with an attorney on what particular limitations period might apply to your claim. You should seek legal help immediately, as a delay may be fatal to your claim. Unless you have a special exception, your claim will be thrown out if you attempt to file after the limitations period has passed.
Because every personal injury claim is different, it is difficult to determine an average settlement. A victim who lost a limb will likely need to receive more in medical expenses than someone who broke an arm, for instance. Although personal injury claims tend to average anywhere between $3000 to $75,000—an extremely broad range—there may be significant economic and noneconomic factors in your individual case that may indicate that your particular claim would be valued at a significantly higher figure at trial in front of a jury. An attorney can help you estimate your unique losses based on the facts of your case. The knowledge of an attorney experienced in jury verdict value is extremely important. You should be entitled to make up for your specific losses at the very least.
What qualifies as a personal injury?
A personal injury generally refers to any bodily injury sustained in an accident, from minor bruises to severe brain trauma. The most common personal injury claims arise from harm sustained from traffic wrecks, slip and fall accidents, defective products, dangerous property conditions, and medical malpractice.