CHICAGO RAILROAD LIABILITY ATTORNEYS
Record victories for victims of train crashes and railroad negligence.
At Cavanagh Law Group, our attorneys have decades of experience handling cases involving train crashes, railroad crossings, signal failures and faulty equipment. In 2002, the firm obtained a record $55 million verdict in an Illinois railroad crossing case after an eight-million-pound train traveling 50 mph slammed into a family’s car — severely and permanently injuring everyone inside the vehicle. The crossing gates and lights were malfunctioning at the time, and a dispatcher erroneously told train operators the crossing was clear. The case set an Illinois record and was recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the top 100 verdicts in the United States in 2002.
Due to the weight of trains and the speeds at which they travel, injuries sustained in train collisions are often catastrophic or fatal. Survivors frequently suffer brain and spinal cord injuries and can require around-the-clock care and specialized medical treatment for the rest of their lives. Many collisions — whether they occur with Amtrak, Metra, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) or freight trains — are the result of human error, technical errors and poorly managed systems. Our attorneys have a long track record of securing multi-million settlements and verdicts for our clients.
Cavanagh Law Group previously obtained a $9.1 million settlement for a woman who suffered nerve and brain damage after a train collided with her car; the crash was caused by lack of visibility and a broken crossing gate that had been knocked down prior to the incident. Our team also secured a $1.8 million settlement after passengers on a Metra regional train suffered serious injuries during a train derailment. In that case, the train’s engineer failed to properly stop at a red light. And in another Metra case, the firm obtained a $7.5 million settlement for a woman who sustained a massive brain injury after being struck by a commuter train in Chicago. Metra had reversed the flow of traffic that day to accommodate a construction project and didn’t properly notify passengers.
Cavanagh Law Group founder Tim Cavanagh has long advocated for Positive Train Control (PTC), a high-tech safety system that uses computers, antennas, radios and GPS trackers to monitor a train’s location and speed. If there is danger ahead, PTC will alert train operators and can even override a train’s system to slow down or stop the train if personnel fails to act. Congress in 2008 mandated all railroads implement Positive Train Control — but many put off adopting the critical safety system, endangering countless passengers in the process. An initial seven-year deadline was later extended another three years, with the option for railroads to apply for an additional two-year extension.
“Every day, our nation’s railroad riders are still one human error away from a catastrophic accident because too many railroads still don’t have this safety system,” Cavanagh wrote in an op-ed following a deadly train accident in New Jersey. “It is time for our nation to get serious about railroad safety in general and stop putting millions of railroad riders, including more than 300,000 commuters who ride Metra each day, at unnecessary risk.”
About Cavanagh Law Group
Cavanagh Law Group has obtained more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements in Illinois and across the United States. Our veteran trial attorneys are aggressive advocates who practice every facet of personal injury law and take on cases of all sizes. We operate on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay anything unless we win. At Cavanagh Law Group, we pride ourselves on attentive customer service and being there for families in their times of need. Our well respected, award-winning attorneys are available 24/7 for your questions and concerns. To schedule a free case evaluation, call 312-425-1900.
Frequently Asked Questions
Call the police immediately and file a police report. Even if the damage was minor, it is essential to document what happened with a law enforcement agency. Take photos at the scene.
Never admit fault. Your testimony could be used against you at a later date. While you are required to speak to police, there is no obligation to talk to another person’s attorney or insurance company. Avoid providing written or oral statements.
Report the accident to your own insurance company as soon as possible — but don’t admit fault. Many insurance companies have rules requiring policyholders to report crashes within a certain timeframe. Check your policy to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines.
Visit a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Whether you’re filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, it is imperative that a medical professional documents your injuries.
Hire an attorney. Cavanagh Law Group’s team of veteran trial attorneys will help you obtain maximum benefits through meticulous research, proven strategy and expert testimony.
Yes. Illinois has comparative negligence laws, which allow injured parties to have some degree of fault in an accident and still recover reduced damages. The amount of money recovered may be proportional to the degree to which a person is at fault. Insurance companies make determinations following interviews with witnesses and involved parties and a thorough review of the accident report.
Under Illinois law, people have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit in civil court. That timeframe drops to one year if the claim is against a municipal government, such as a city or county.