In the days following March 24, 2014, media across the country broadcast
disturbing images of a Chicago CTA Blue Line train that had derailed at
the O’Hare International Airport station. Reporters explained that
the train had failed to stop at its terminal station, jumped the platform
and ended up on the escalator that led from the subway to O’Hare
Airport. A couple of days later, a video surfaced, recording of strange
incident. The 10- second dramatic
videoclip showed the train literally climbing the escalator. Over 30 people
were injured and $9 million worth of damage was done to CTA property.
Tragedies on the Subway
subway accidents as dramatic as the Chicago Blue Line accident are rare, accidents on subway
systems across the country are not uncommon. Regardless, even minor train
accidents can result in serious injuries. Subway trains travel at high
speeds; some New York subway trains reportedly travel at speeds over 55
mph. As a result of high speeds, passengers, many of whom stand, are often
jostled about. When an accident occurs, passengers are at risk of hitting
their heads against metal poles, doors, or hard train floors. Additionally,
subway trains do not have the same safety features as cars such as seatbelts
and airbags. Without out such safety gear, passengers are more likely
to suffer an injury if a derailment or collision occurs.
Injuries suffered in subway train accidents are typically the fault of
the subway authority. In the case of the Blue Line CTA accident, the train
operator admitted that she had fallen asleep. In fact, there is some evidence
that this was not the first time this operator had fallen asleep while
on the job.
Filing a Lawsuit for Subway Injuries
Whether the subway accident occurred in Chicago, New York, Boston, or any
other city, the process for filing a claim against the City or its transit
authority is similar. However, because the lawsuit would be against a
government entity, the process is quite different from filing a lawsuit
against an individual and there are strict rules that must be followed.
The main difference, between filing a claim against an individual and
a government entity, is that the plaintiff has to get permission to sue
the city or other government entity by first filing a claim. In the claim,
the victim describes the incident, the injuries sustained, and the amount
of money sought. The government responds by offering a settlement amount
or denying the claim. If the victim is not satisfied with the government’s
offer, or if the government denies the claim, the victim may file a lawsuit.
Ultimately, once you get past the claim filing stage, suing a city, transit
authority or any other government entity for injuries sustained in an
accident is just like any other personal injury lawsuit.
In the case of the Chicago CTA accident, the operator was fired. Upon further
examination, CTA’s train operator scheduling policies have have
scrutinized and criticized. As expected, several claims have been filed
against the CTA. As
passengers of public transportation, we expect quick and safe service, but as with any mode of transportation,
we are at risk of injuries. Whether you believe that the CTA or the train
operator holds full responsibility for the accident, victims from crash
are entitled compensation for the injuries they received.