The Rockford train derailment and fire last Friday may have been due to high water caused by a heavy rainfall. National Transportation Safety Board Investigators are on scene, but their ability to investigate the scene is limited by still-burning tank cars that were carrying highly flammable and explosive ethanol.Most derailments are due to either human error or poor maintenance, and the likelihood is that Canadian National will vigorously defend the lawsuits to come from this train derailment as being an “act of God” or due to circumstances beyond their control.Nonetheless, there are important questions to be answered in the investigation of this Rockford train accident:
- Was the water actually that high at the time of the derailment, or is the water that is being measured now due to the rain that fell following the derailment plus the water added by fire rescue crews after the derailment occurred?
- When was the track last inspected? Was there reason for Canadian National to recognize that this section of track was susceptible to being washed out, and is so, was routing a train full of tank cars containing ethanol the safe thing to do in light of the forecasted weather?
The victims of the Rockford train derailment who survived were very seriously injured, in addition to the wrongful death that occurred. These questions deserve vigorous investigation by an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer.