Passenger vehicle collisions are all too frequent in Illinois. It’s also not uncommon to see auto-pedestrian accidents, motorcycle vs. car crashes, and even the occasional bus vs. vehicle wreck. But one type of collision which is unusual is when a train strikes a tractor-trailer. And that’s precisely what took place this week in suburban Chicago.
On Monday afternoon shortly after 3:30pm, a Milwaukee District Red Line Metra train was heading inbound through the suburb of Bartlett. At a grad crossing, a tractor-trailer carrying new vehicles was on the tracks when the Metra train arrived, and the train slammed into the tractor-trailer. Passenger vehicles went flying into a nearby parking lot, and one of the train cars derailed. Miraculously, only two people suffered injuries which were described as minor, despite the fact that their were 20 passengers on the train at the time.
It’s not clear at this time what caused the train accident, although it should be noted that gates and signals are present at the crossing where the crash occurred. If a subsequent investigation determines that the driver of the semi ignored the lights and gates and attempted to cross the tracks, then he or she will be held responsible for the collision. Because Illinois law dictates that all employers are responsible for the actions of their employees, the company that operates the truck will also be held liable. That means that the two injured victims could file a person injury lawsuit against the truck driver and trucking company in the hopes of collecting reimbursement for medical expenses (and possibly lost wages due to work absenteeism and monetary damages for pain and suffering).
It’s also possible that Metra could be held partially accountable for the train accident. If the train conductor didn’t follow proper procedures related to speed or warning horns, or if the gates or signals weren’t operating properly, then Metra could be named as a defendant in the victim’s lawsuits.