Yesterday in Rockford, a Canadian National freight train derailed while hauling several tank cars of highly flammable and explosive ethanol, causing several of the tank cars to catch fire and explode. One motorist waiting at a railroad crossing near the train derailment was killed when the car was hit with flying railroad ties and burning ethanol. Three passengers in the car were also severely burned and had to be taken to burn units at area hospitals for further treatment. The fires were still burning Saturday morning as the explosive properties of the ethanol made it dangerous for firefighters to get too close.Our firm conducted a study of the causes of several northern Illinois train derailments, and found that the cause of many of the train derailments was the result of either human error or poor track or equipment maintenance. In either case, the responsibility for safe train operation falls on the railroad, and a train derailment strongly indicates deficiencies in the operation of the train or its equipment.One of the important things that can be done to help the families of those injured in the Rockford train derailment is to properly document conditions immediately after the accident and to take other steps to preserve crucial evidence to assist in the eventual prosecution of an Illinois wrongful death suit. Hiring an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer is a wise step to making sure that crucial evidence is preserved, as railroads have been alleged to manipulated evidence during their post accident investigations.