Illinois Ranks Second in the Nation for Train Injuries and Fatalities

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Illinois ranks second in the nation for train injuries and fatalities. Due to Chicago’s heavy train traffic, Illinois trains are twice as likely to be involved in accidents than trains in other states. Heavy traffic creates a high risk of serious injury for train passengers, as well as railroad workers represented by federal employers liability act lawyers when injuries occur.

Chicago Train Accidents

Chicago’s train tracks are some of the busiest in the country. According to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), millions of Chicago residents rely on train transportation to get around the city. Chicago trains serve over 145 stations and make more than 2,000 trips every day.

In Chicago, train traffic is especially high. Commercial trains and commuter trains share space at the same terminals on a daily basis. Due to heavy traffic and busy schedules, trains must cross paths with one another on the rails, but they also cross paths with cars at designated grade crossings. As a result, train accidents often result in personal injuries and fatalities to drivers and passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, in 2015 Illinois experienced 140 train collisions which resulted in 79 injuries and 24 fatalities. Since railroad workers don’t receive worker’s compensation from the state, federal employers liability act lawyers typically represent railroad workers injured on the job. Injured railroad workers are compensated for work-related injuries through the FELA, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.

What is FELA?

In 1908, Congress enacted the FELA to protect the thousands of railroad workers who were injured and killed every year. The FELA is the only way a railroad worker or his/her family can be compensated for a work-related injury or fatality.

In the U.S., railroad employees participate in the Railroad Retirement Board Pension Plan (RRB), instead of Social Security like most workers. In Illinois, work-related claims for railroad injuries are filed through the FELA and federal employers liability act lawyers. FELA imposes certain restrictions:

  • To receive compensation for injuries, an employee must prove negligence on the part of the railroad, and that his/her injuries resulted from that negligence.
  • An injured employee has up to three years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim in state or federal courts.
  • If a railroad employee’s job is terminated due to injury, the RRB pension is reduced, since retirement annuity is based on earnings and length of service.