Experienced Railroad Accident Attorney Representation
Accidents Involving CTA, Metra Trains and Amtrak, Among Other Trains and Rails
A train or railway accident can put your life on hold for weeks or months while you deal with injury treatment, missed work, and rehabilitation. Despite the seriousness of these accidents, help from an attorney can give you your life back.
If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury in a train accident, contact Clifford Law Offices. We will review the facts of your case and discuss the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury claim could generate compensation for your accident-related losses, including medical bills and wage loss. If you lost a loved one in a train accident, we can discuss whether filing a wrongful death claim is a possible option.
Our firm has represented passengers in numerous rail crashes and derailments, one of the latest being a number of people injured or killed in the derailment of Amtrak 501 near Seattle, Washington. A settlement recently was reached on behalf of the firm’s clients in the 2017 derailment for $57 million.
Why Do Train Accidents Happen?
Clifford Law Offices has successfully litigated and settled personal injury suits involving Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) vehicles, Metra trains, Amtrak, and other trains and rails. We have more than 40 years of legal experience to preserve the evidence to get to the bottom of what happens when a terrible rail tragedy like this happens because the rail company and its insurers do so on its own behalf. We will use that experience to garner the best possible outcomes for clients.
One of our first goals when we accept a new client is to decipher what happened, which is sometimes difficult in the aftermath of a train accident. Common causes include:
- Lack of train maintenance
- Inspection violations
- Speeding/reckless train operation
- Operator error
- Wet, greasy, or oily floors and platforms
- Trip and fall hazards on trains
- Third-party drivers stopped on railroad crossings
Train safety and health violations can be factors in serious train wrecks, with multiple passengers sustaining injuries. It is the train company’s legal duty to fulfill the necessary standards of care and cleanliness before welcoming passengers on board. Breaching these duties is an act of negligence that could result in company liability for damages. At Clifford Law Offices, we hold negligent parties responsible for their misconduct on behalf of accident victims.
How to Navigate Common Carrier Laws
Common carriers are vehicles that transport passengers or goods as a paid service. Trains, trams, and buses are common carriers. Common carriers must obey specific laws that do not apply to other vehicles. In general, common carriers owe higher standards of care to passengers than non-commercial vehicle drivers. These standards include inspecting and repairing trains, checking for hidden or potential safety hazards, properly hiring and training employees and train conductors, and taking steps to reasonably provide for the safety of all passengers.
When companies such as the CTA, Metra, or Amtrak fall short of these duties, accidents happen. Train accidents can cause serious passenger injuries, such as multiple bone fractures, lacerations, burns, bruises, traumatic brain injuries, and neck/back injuries. According to common carrier laws, injured train accident victims can file claims against the train company and/or other parties in pursuit of fair compensation.
A train attorney with experience handling common carrier accidents will have the knowledge and resources to strengthen your case and improve your odds of successfully settling with the train company’s insurer. Hiring an attorney enables you to focus on healing – be it from physical injuries or the devastation of losing a loved one – while your lawyer takes care of filing processes and legal battles.
Clifford Law Offices Retained by Family Injured on Amtrak Train That Derailed in Missouri
POSTED ON JUNE 29, 2022
A family from Kansas aboard the Amtrak train that derailed Monday, June 27, 2022, in rural Missouri is among those who will be filing lawsuits against the train company as well as the company that owned the dump truck hauling rock that blocked the tracks.
The family, who was taken to a hospital for their injuries, contacted Clifford Law Offices to help them find out what happened early Monday afternoon when the passenger Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 4 derailed in Mendon in the central part of Missouri. The train was headed to Chicago having started in Los Angeles, California, and making many stops along the way, including stops in Kansas. The family boarded in Kansas City, Missouri, headed to Chicago for a future business leaders conference at McCormick Place.
It is being reported that four people, including the truck driver, were killed, and 150 of the 243 passengers aboard were taken to area hospitals, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. A go-team of 14 officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived Tuesday to investigate the derailment, including whether all proper Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) safety rules were followed. The NTSB will look into whether the train used its horn to warn of its presence as well as the speed of the train which is regulated by the FRA.
The derailment occurred at an “uncontrolled intersection” with no lights or electronic controls, according to the highway patrol. The intersection also will be examined. The NTSB is reporting that upgrading that rail intersection would cost approximately $400,000. The tracks have been shut down while the investigation at the scene continues.
“Uncontrolled grade crossings are inherently dangerous,” said Kristofer Riddle, partner at Clifford Law Offices who is handling 42 cases from a 2021 Amtrak derailment in Montana. “Clifford Law Offices will conduct its own investigation into what occurred, but inevitably negligence is involved, and the stakes are very high when a high-speed passenger train is involved.”
Riddle was also part of the trial team that obtained a $16.75 million verdict for several clients who were involved in the 2017 Amtrak derailment outside DuPont, Washington.
“We continue to receive inquiries from others who were aboard the train in Missouri,” Riddle said. “People want answers, and they deserve answers.” The family from Kansas was in the fourth or fifth car that derailed off the tracks.
Clifford Law Offices is seeking information, videos, photos, and witness accounts from those at the scene. The law firm intends to file a lawsuit against Amtrak and the trucking company, on behalf of the Kansas family, alleging a number of causes of actions based upon its own investigation as well as information provided by officials.
If you need a train accident attorney or someone you love was injured or killed as a result of a train accident, please consult with Clifford Law Offices by calling us at (800) 899-0410 or (312) 899-9090. Our firm has the resources and experience to navigate the complex process in fighting for you and your family involving injuries or death related to these types of tragic accidents.
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Our Results In Train Accident Injury Cases
Clifford Law Offices has litigated and settled personal injury and wrongful death suits involving Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) vehicles, Metra trains, Amtrak, and other trains and rails. We have more than 30 years of legal experience. Our most notable results include:
- $56.78 Million in Settlements in Seattle Amtrak Derailment. Clifford Law Offices obtained a total of $56.78 million in settlements involving the derailment of Amtrak Train 501 outside DuPont, Washington, four years ago. The settlement concludes the cases filed by Clifford Law Offices in Federal District court involving a speeding Amtrak 501 train that left dozens of people injured and multiple fatalities.
- Multi-Million Dollar Settlement (Confidential): A multi-million dollar settlement was reached on behalf of 17 passengers who were injured when the Amtrak train they were traveling on collided with a truck in Bourbonnais, Illinois, causing the train to derail.
- $35 Million Verdict: Rachel Barton, a 20-year-old gifted violinist, was on her way to teach a class at a suburban Chicago music school when the doors of a Metra commuter train closed on her violin case shoulder strap and other bags, pinning her to the train doors. The train pulled out, dragging Barton nearly 300 feet. By the time she was able to free herself, she was pulled under the train, severing her legs. Good Samaritans came to her rescue, and a surgeon was able to reattach one of her legs. Following numerous surgeries, she continues to play the violin as a concert soloist.
- $18.5 Million Settlement: Clifford Law Offices represented two plaintiffs who were burned while cutting up a train that had derailed two days prior in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The plaintiffs were told by both the railroad and an environmental company that it was okay to start cutting before the explosion occurred which badly injured both of them.
- $17 Million Verdict: The trial, that took place in federal district court, represents the first case to be heard involving the speeding Amtrak 501 train that killed three people and injured 60 others when traveling outside of DuPont, Washington. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the train was traveling nearly 80 miles per hour around a curve that called for a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour.
- $11.4 Million Settlement: A 57-year-old mechanic suffers catastrophic orthopedic injuries and internal injuries when he was run over by a tractor-trailer while performing repairs to marker lights on the trailer.
- $9 Million Verdict: A 36-year-old master mechanic lost his arm and his spleen in a rail tragedy in Havana, Illinois when he attempted to set the handbrake on a runaway coal car that was about to strike another employee.
- $8.5 Million Settlement: Attorneys at Clifford Law Offices represented a married couple who were crushed inside their car when a Union Pacific train derailed from a viaduct in Glenview, Illinois.
- $2.5 Million Settlement: A 57-year-old bicyclist was struck and killed by an express eastbound commuter train in Riverside, Illinois. The eastbound trains were running on tracks usually used by westbound trains. There had been a derailment that morning, causing employees of Burlington Northern Santa Fe to deactivate the pedestrian crossing gates to better access the derailment.
- $2.425 Million Settlement: A 38-year-old pedestrian was struck by a slow-moving single engine freight train as she was crossing the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks at the gate crossing in Berwyn, Illinois. She sustained head injuries that claimed her life a day later.
- $2.25 Million Settlement: Clifford Law Offices represented the wife of a 57-year-old man who was killed in a South Shore passenger train collision with a steel coil-hauling truck at Midwest Steel in Portage, Indiana.
- $2 Million Settlement: A Cook County employee suffered a fractured hip and shoulder after a speeding Metra train, heading to Chicago, derailed when the conductor ignored the switch signal and failed to perform a successful crossover from one track to another
The railroad lawyers at Clifford Law Offices have dedicated their careers to understanding the complexities and logistics involved in rail accidents, disasters, and rail safety.
Robert A. Clifford
Richard_ F. Burke
Susan A. Capra
Jack J. Casciato
Bradley M. Cosgrove
Robert P. Walsh
Kevin P. Durkin
Keith A. Hebeisen
Sarah F. King
Shannon M. Mcnulty
Pamala S. Menaker
James C. Pullos
Hon. Henry R. Simmons (Ret.)
Craig J. Squillace