Chicago area public transportation has made the news quite often recently, unfortunately not in praise, but in notoriety. From train accidents during the polar vortex and to the derailing of the CTA blue line at the O’Hare stops, Chicagoans have voiced their concern about the string of accidents with both the Metra and CTA trains. Unfortunately, this week another accident occurred again on the CTA blue line rail.
According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, a Blue Line train derailed at the Cicero stop. The train was headed toward Forest Park, but derailed after it hit a truck tire that was on the tracks. One of the train car’s wheels derailed upon hitting the tire, which officials say came from a semi-truck on the Eisenhower expressway. Following the derailment, it took two hours to get the trains back onto the tracks. Six ambulances were called to the scene, but thankfully no one on the train suffered personal injuries.
One witness spoke on her account of situation. She said that as the train departed the Cicero stop a large spark flew into the air, and the first cars appeared to “jump off the track.” After the train derailed, passengers were provided with a step ladder to get back onto the platform, but many were nervous about crossing over third rail (the one that is electric). Emergency responders helped people off the ladder and onto the platform.
Here we might be observing an intersection in tort law of premises liability and public transportation safety. In both regards, however, companies and employees owe paying customers, the invitees, a high level of a legal duty of care. In such a duty of care, it is the responsibility of the CTA to inspect the premises and trains for dangers, to warn patrons of known dangers, and to immediately remedy dangers upon discovery. Fortunately there were no injuries so we doubt that any legal action will be taken, but if there had been our lawyers would also want to know how a truck tire ended up on the tracks, and why the obstruction and danger was not tended to quickly l.
While thankfully no one appears to have been seriously injured in this derailment, our attorneys understand how serious public transportation train accidents can be. Passengers trust that when they get on a public train or bus that the equipment is fully-operational, the tracks are in safe condition and all operators are capable. When one or more of these does not occur and serious or life-changing injuries result, passengers can hold the operator and company liable for negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured in a public transportation accident in Chicago or throughout Illinois, our firm may be able to assist you. Our attorneys provide free consultations and we would be happy to discuss your potential legal claim with you.