Our Chicago train accident lawyers have become all too familiar with deadly railroad crashes occurring at dangerous railroad crossings — often the result of a failure to warn of an approaching train. On Friday evening at approximately 9:42 pm, this horror came back to life at a University Park railroad crossing where Katie Lunn, only 26-years-old, was violently killed when her SUV vehicle was struck by an Amtrak train in the railroad intersection.
According to multiple witnesses, there ware no warnings of an approaching train at the railroad crossing: (1) No alarm bells ringing; (2) No lights flashing; and (3) No crossing gates coming down. In other words, Ms. Lunn had no warning whatsoever that a train would be storming through the railroad crossing at the time she crossed in her vehicle. And she had nowhere to go — her vehicle was sandwiched between traffic stopped at a stop sign.
The Chicago Tribune reported that multiple complaints had previously been made regarding poor track conditions to the railroad tracks’ owner, Canadian National Railway Company. According to a Canadian National spokesman, they are conducting an investigation into the accident, along with the Federal Railroad Administration.
Often, in the aftermath of railroad crossing accidents, the railroad companies suggest that the injured or killed driver was “comparatively negligent” in trying to “beat” the train across the intersection, despite adequate warning. Here, there does not appear to be any evidence to support that defense. According to one witness interviewed by the Tribune, “Nobody was trying to beat a gate . . . Nobody was trying to beat a train.”
As a result, a young Chicago woman has tragically lost her life. And our city’s citizens deserve to be outraged. At a bare minimum, we expect to receive adequate warning of an approaching train, traveling at high speed, and weighing several thousands of pounds, as we traverse our public roadways. It is hard to imagine a more fundamental aspect of public safety.
Any number of causes of action and corresponding legal issues are triggered by this Amtrak train crash, and subsequent wrongful death lawsuit: identifying the exact federal and state safety violations involved; investigating defective railroad crossing and/or train equipment; investigating the conduct of Amtrak — driver fatigue, failure to stop train; crossing maintenance, possibly dated train and railroad equipment; identifying all individuals and/or entities responsible; inadequate training of employees.
In any serious accident such as this one, it is critical to consult with a top-rated Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. As noted above, the railroad has already begun its investigation into this accident. Victims of railroad accidents, and their families, need an experienced attorney representing their interests, and investigating the accident on their behalf as well.
For a Free Consultation with an experienced Chicago railroad crash lawyer, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500.