The weather forecasts have been grim recently in anticipation of Winter Storm Ion, the system that has been causing havoc across much of the nation recently. With heavy snowfalls, below zero temperatures, and a howling wind, many may not be surprised to experience a rough commute this morning.
The weather is so bad that Chicago Public Schools are closed, as are the University of Chicago and Illinois State University. At least 15,000 customers are without power. And for many, as they head to work or school this morning, things could get worse.
There are widespread reports of numerous weather-related accidents across Chicago with police confirming many abandoned cars lining the streets, some that have been there since the snow began and others whose owners were unable to drive in the snow. The city has reported snow plows becoming stuck in the poor weather and there has already been need of front-end loaders to help remove the snow and dig out some vehicles.
Some major expressways and roadways are now clear of snow but bridges and overpasses have a sheet of ice on them, making a very dangerous transition from pavement with little snow to pavement covered in sheer ice. The ice decreases a car’s ability to grip the road and can cause a total lack of traction which can lead to a spin-out and even a crash.
The Chicago Tribune has also reported that Interstate 94 between Michigan City and the Illinois state line is closed as is Interstate 65 between Gary and Lafayette. In many storms, commuters who choose to take public transportation are better off, but in the case of Winter Storm Ion, things may not be much better.
A crash occurred this morning between a Metra train on the Milwaukee District North Line and a second train in Niles near Touhy Avenue. Emergency crews responded to the collision and 150 passengers were evaluated by paramedics. Of them, 14 appeared to have sustained injuries and three had to be taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital for further treatment. The conditions of the victims are not currently known but all were expected to survive.
In addition to the collision by the Metra train, numerous other Metra trains experienced technical difficulties or delays as did the CTA city trains. Some are making limited stops while others are not running at all. Commuters are being warned to expect significant delays for the remainder of morning rush hour and possibly throughout the rest of the day.
When winter weather contributes to an accident, it may be the only factor leading to a car crash or it may be one of many. If a driver of a car, bus, or train acted negligently or carelessly in the face of the inclement weather and a collision occurred, the crash may not be due to the weather but may be blamed on the negligence of the driver. If that is the case, Chicago laws entitle accident victims with the right to bring a claim for their damages against a negligent party.
If you have been injured in a winter weather accident, call the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us help you understand your legal rights. We offer a free case consultation to all those who call us at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call. After an accident, make sure you protect your rights. Call us and let us help you obtain a recovery you deserve.
Prior Blog Entry:
Car Crashes Into Chicago Train Support Beam, Leaving 2 Dead, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published January 2, 2014.
Winter Storm Ion: State-By-State Impacts, The Weather Channel/Associated Press, published January 6, 2014.
Major Metra, CTA delays during morning commute, Chicago Tribune, published January 6, 2014.