Chicago Bus, Train, and "L" Accident Attorneys in Illinois
Public transportation is a necessity of modern life. In Northeastern Illinois, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) runs public transportation systems in Chicago and around the metropolitan area including Metra (railroad system) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), along with the Pace Suburban Bus and the Pace Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit system. Over two million riders every week day take advantage of one of these forms of transportation across 7,200 miles of routes. No matter where you are, chances are you use some form of public transportation yourself.
Causes of Bus and Train Accidents
Most public transportation companies are referred to as a "common carrier," which means that they are responsible for your safety and should be providing the highest levels of care to make sure that riders don’t get injured. In reality, of course, that’s not what always happens. Some of the most common problems that lead to accidents include:
- Distracted bus drivers and train conductors: Distractions either from passengers or other vehicles may contribute to accidents and injuries.
- Tired or overworked drivers: Drivers who fail to get proper sleep or who work long hours are more likely to be involved in accidents.
- Drivers in a hurry: Hurried drivers who fail to pay attention to passengers when they’re getting on, getting off, or getting seated can cause injury.
- Poor vehicle maintenance: Buses and trains travel extraordinary numbers of miles each day and put extra wear on critical mechanical components. Brakes, tires, and engines must be closely monitored to ensure proper mechanical performance and avoid accidents.
- Failure to avoid obstacles: The driver must always endeavor to avoid other vehicles, hazards, and fixed objects to protect his/her passengers. When accidents occur, passengers may be thrown off their feet or from their seats, causing serious injury or even death.
- Texting or phone usage: Bus drivers and train conductors are not immune to the temptation to use a phone or other personal communication device while driving, and the chances for an accident from distracted driving dramatically increase as a result.
- Drug and alcohol usage: Those in charge must carefully monitor drivers to make sure that drugged or drunk drivers never take the wheel. When an accident occurs, suspect operators must be immediately tested for controlled substances, drugs, and alcohol to determine if their condition was a contributing cause of any injuries or deaths that resulted.
- Failure to follow traffic regulations: Bus drivers must follow all traffic laws and avoid speeding, improper lane usage, and following too closely. Because buses are often on a strict time schedule, there’s a temptation to cut corners, which ultimately may result in death or injury to passengers.
Important Things to Know About Bus & Train Personal Injury Claims
If you or a loved one has been harmed on a bus, train, or other mode of public transportation, you hope and expect that those that caused the harm will "step up" and take full responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately, when it comes to public transportation accidents, governmental entities almost never do so easily or voluntarily.
It is, however, very common for the CTA (or another service provider) to immediately reach out to you, offer their sympathies, offer to help, and then ask you (usually on a recorded phone line) to explain in detail what occurred. We strongly advise that you do not give a statement to their representative without consulting an attorney first. That’s because the true purpose of this recorded statement is usually to build a case against you and your claim, NOT to help you. There is a time to explain what happened later, but doing so at this point is not advised and may adversely affect or destroy your potential case entirely.
Another extremely important matter that relates to bus, train or "L" accident cases involves the "statute of limitations." This is the deadline before which any lawsuit must be filed. It is a very firm deadline. If you try to file a lawsuit even one day after time runs out, your case will be thrown out of court and you will lose your right forever to any money or possible settlement. For most injures, deaths and accidents in Illinois, that deadline is usually two years. But for accidents involving the CTA, for example, the deadline to file a lawsuit may be much shorter.
Nevertheless, if you choose to discuss your case with a bus or train representative instead of immediately contacting a qualified Chicago auto accident attorney, be aware that:
- They don’t have your best interests in mind and you’re likely helping them build a case against you by discussing your accident.
- It’s very unlikely that they will ultimately offer to settle your case with you alone (without a lawyer first filing an actual lawsuit) and if they do, the amount they offer you will likely be inadequate and unfair.
- Every day you delay is another day closer to the final (possible shorter) deadline for filing a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is not filed by that day at midnight, you will forever lose your right to any financial compensation.
Don’t Delay. Contact an Experienced PI Attorney Now.
Once upon a time, public transportation carriers took responsibility for their negligence and were more likely to provide fair compensation without being pushed hard. But these days, they almost never settle unless they see that an experienced attorney has filed a lawsuit. Only then does the public transportation company realize that you "mean business" and intend to stand up for your rights. With the right attorney you’ll never miss your filing deadline - you’ll be able to recover the maximum financial compensation available for injuries that occurred due to a sudden stop, train derailment, bus crash, or other public transportation accident.
Since 1990, the aggressive yet compassionate attorneys associated with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have been helping clients and their families affected by the negligence of public transportation companies. Such accidents may involve:
- School Bus
- Public Transportation Bus such as CTA or PACE
- Out-of-State Bus traveling through Illinois, such as Megabus or Greyhound
- Charter Bus Tour
- Shuttle Bus
- Amtrak or other train such as Metra
- Elevated Train (the "L")
In any of these circumstances, our attorneys can offer immediate and experienced help. There are never any legal fees unless we recover a monetary settlement on your behalf. So call now. The call is free and the advice is free. We’re open 24 hours a day every day of the year to help you preserve your rights and to achieve justice. Call us at (800) 996-4824.
- Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
- Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
- Pace Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit system
- School Buses - NHTSA