Illinois FELA Train Accident Lawyers
Taking a train from one end of the country to the other may feel outdated. However, people commute on trains every day. Many individuals use trains to visit family in neighboring states or to enjoy some of America’s best scenic views. All of these trains require workers, from the conductors and engineers to the office personnel who keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes. Each one of these employees face the risk of being hurt while on the job. Members of the public could also be hurt in an accident involving a train.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a train accident, the best thing to do is contact an experienced and skilled Illinois train accident lawyer. The Illinois personal injury lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC will review your injuries and the accident that caused them. If you have an injury claim, we can represent you in a lawsuit against the responsible party. Call us at 618-277-3644, or reach out through our online form to discuss your case with a FELA lawyer today.
Common Causes of Train Accidents & Injuries
Train accidents, whether they involve railroad workers or members of the public, arise from a wide variety of negligent conduct. Some of the most common causes of train accidents and injuries include:
- Defective equipment
- Defective train crossing signals
- Defective train part
- Excessive or improperly secured cargo
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Improper maintenance of a train
- Railroad worker negligence
- Train collisions with other trains, vehicles, or pedestrians
- Train conductor negligence
- Train derailment
While the above are, indeed, reasons for train accidents and injuries, there are three main causes of injuries in these types of accidents: human error, track malfunctions, and mechanical failures. After a train accident, a train accident lawyer at our firm will investigate the crash to determine whether one or more people were at fault.
Track conditions play a significant role in train safety. When rails are not well maintained, the risk of a derailment, collision, or other accident increases. Not only should the tracks and rails be in safe, working order, so too should the trains themselves. Trains should be routinely inspected and repaired. A poorly maintained train is much more likely to suffer a mechanical failure.
Train Accident Injuries
You may assume that train accident injuries are all serious or catastrophic. It is true that serious train accidents can result in significant harm and fatalities. However, not all train accidents are as serious as those that make the news. Like with other types of vehicle accidents, the extent of your or your loved one’s injuries depend on a number of factors. You may experience:
- Back and spine injuries
- Complex bone fractures
- Contusions and lacerations
- Crush injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Minor traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as a concussion
- Moderate-to-severe TBI
- Nerve damage
- Partial or full paralysis
- Respiratory injuries
- Simple bone fractures
- Skin irritation or damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Vision damage or loss
Contact a Belleville FELA Lawyer Today
When you or a loved one are injured in a train accident, you need an experienced, skilled, and aggressive train accident attorney on your side. Going up against a railroad company can be challenging, and it is not something you should handle yourself. A railroad company will be protected by an insurer and team of lawyers. You deserve the same level of knowledge and protection.To discuss how a FELA lawyer can help you, contact Cates Mahoney, LLC at 618-277-3644, or online to schedule a free case consultation.
FELA Claims for Train and Railroad Workers
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), was passed in 1908. It was during this time that workers, particularly railroad employees, faced hazardous work environment conditions. Many workers were injured, and Congress believed they needed an avenue for legal recourse. FELA was created to provide a means of legal recovery for injured railroad workers or the families of those killed on the job, standardizing when railroad company could be held liable for worker injuries. Any type of railroad or train worker who is injured while on duty is likely protected by FELA, even if their main job duties are not on or around the trains. FELA is not only intended to protect workers, though. It also offers some benefits to railroad-related employers.
If you are a railroad worker and were injured while working, you should contact a Illinois FELA lawyer immediately. You have a few options for filing a FELA claim. Your attorney may represent you in making a claim directly to your employer or the liable railroad company. In many cases, your employer will require you to file a report. Your FELA lawyer may also advise you to file a lawsuit in state or federal court to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Proving Fault Under FELA
Filing a FELA claim is not the same as filing a claim under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act or for a personal injury suffered outside your employment. Under FELA, the standard for demonstrating negligence on the part of the railroad company or another employee or agent of the railroad company is not as high of standard as a typical work comp or personal injury claim. While a FELA claim does require proof of negligence, you need only prove that the railroad company or employee was at least in part or somewhat at fault. This makes it slightly easier to prove the railroad company is liable for your injuries when compared to an ordinary negligence claim.
With an FELA claim, you are essentially alleging that your employer or the other company failed to provide you with a reasonably safe work environment. However, when bringing a FELA claim and arguing that the defendant was at fault, you must be cognizant of comparative negligence. A railroad company’s main and often strongest defense is that you were also negligent and contributed to the accident and your injuries. If the defendant can prove that you ware partially responsible, then your right to obtain compensation may be prohibited under Illinois’ modified comparative negligence rule. For example, if you are found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident and your injuries, then you will receive compensation. However, it will be reduced by your percentage of fault as determined by the jury. If you are determined to be more than 50 percent at fault, then you will be barred from receiving compensation.
The FELA Claim Process
If you are a railroad worker who was hurt on the job, discuss the FELA claim process with an experienced FELA lawyer. An overview of the process includes:
- Reporting the accident and injury to your employer.
- Hiring a FELA lawyer.
- Your employer conducting an investigation.
- Your lawyer conducting an independent investigation.
- Initial settlement negotiations.
- If a settlement is not reached, filing a complaint in state or federal court.
- Participating in the discovery process.
- Bringing and battling pre-trial motions, such as a motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgement.
- Preparing for trial.
- Additional settlement negotiations.
- If a settlement is reached, seek court approval.
- If a settlement is not reached, go to trial.
Train Accident Personal Injury Claims
If you are not a railroad worker, yet are injured in a train accident, call us right away. A train accident lawyer from The Cates Law Firm, LLC will investigate your accident, determine liability, and guide you through a personal injury claim. Since you are not a protected railroad worker, you will not file a FELA claim. Instead, you will move forward with another type of personal injury claim against the liable party, which may be the owner of the tracks, the company responsible for operating the train, a maintenance provider, a manufacturer, or another party.
To bring a successful personal injury claim, we will conduct an in-depth investigation into the accident. We will gather evidence of who is at fault and which party is liable. We must be able to show a judge or jury that it was more likely than not that the defendant was responsible.
Recovering Compensation After a Train Accident
Whether you are a worker bringing a FELA claim or a member of the public filing a personal injury lawsuit, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. A train accident lawyer at our firm will pursue compensation on your behalf for:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life or loss of a normal life
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wage loss
To discuss your potential claim, call The Cates Law Firm, LLC at 618-277-3644 or contact us online. We will thoroughly review the circumstances of your case and your injuries to provide you with an objective opinion regarding the viability of your case and the potential for compensation. We will also discuss the many factors that could increase or reduce the compensation you may receive in a settlement or verdict.
Providing experienced representation throughout the United States from our Swansea, Illinois office Serving the surrounding communities, including but not limited to Belleville, Carbondale, Chester, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, St. Louis, Waterloo and Madison County, Monroe County and Randolph County.