Commuters in cities across the nation use public transportation to get to and from work everyday, mostly without incident. Cities like Chicago are hot spots for rail traffic, both freight and passenger, and many of those who head into the city every day for work use the system of commuter trains to travel safely and efficiently.
New York City has a similar rail system available for commuters but unlike those surrounding Chicago, the New York system had a serious accident on Sunday that left four people dead and more than 60 injured when a train jumped its tracks and derailed.
A Metro-North train left the tracks as it traveled around a sharp corner at approximately 7:20 a.m. as the train headed south towards Grand Central Station. The train derailed where the Hudson River meets the Harlem River with at least four train cars leaving the tracks, one coming to rest very near the river’s bank.
The cause of the incident is under investigation by local and federal authorities but nothing has been confirmed yet. Speed may have been a factor as officials have described the area of the derailment as dangerous by design and that the curve in the tracks presents a hazard to those traveling in excess of the speed limit in the area. This allegation has been supported by the word of surviving passengers, some of whom stated that the train was traveling fast or much faster than normal.
Though this incident is tragic, authorities have also stated that the results to passengers may have been much worse if the derailment occurred on a weekday when ridership is high. Instead, in the early Sunday morning hours, the number of passengers on board was relatively light and may be why there were only four fatalities in this incident.
Commuters who travel by the Metro-North train have been advised to consider alternate routes this morning as traffic is believed to be delayed.
Train accidents can happen in any state and at any time, including the area in and surrounding Chicago. Whether an accident happens on a city-operated train, on a commuter train, or even on a national train system, a victim of such an accident may be able to make a financial recovery for any damages sustained in the accident, including any injuries the victim incurs. These claims can be brought against any and all responsible parties including the operator of a train, the manufacturer of a faulty train or train component, or even the owner of train who acted in a negligent fashion.
Following a train incident, the law requires that victims bring their claims within a specified period of time or they will be forever waived by the statute of limitations. To make sure you are protected after your accident, you should consider speaking with a train accident lawyer as soon as practicable following the incident.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we provide all victims with a free telephone consultation at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442. Call us today and let us help you understand your legal rights and legal options.
Prior Blog Entry:
Driver in Fatal 2012 Pedestrian Accident Charged with Reckless Homicide, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 25, 2013.
Feds investigating cause of fatal train derailment in New York City, Chicago Tribune, published December 2, 2013.