We have all seen the massive freight trains that pull hundreds of train cars across the country. Typically, this involves being stuck at a railroad crossing waiting for them to pass. However, these trains and their cargo pose a significant safety hazard about which most drivers and property owners are unaware. In some cases, these trains can cause catastrophic personal injuries
Train Derailments and Fires
Derailments and fires involving trains carrying massive amounts of crude oil pose a danger to communities and drivers throughout the state of Illinois. In the recent past there have been serious oil train accidents in West Virginia, Ontario, and northern Illinois. In early March, in Galena Illinois, a BNSF Railway freight train
loaded with crude oil derailed around lunch time. Twenty-one of the train's 105 cars fell off the tracks. The recovery efforts lasted for days, as the train was carrying 630,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota before it derailed. The derailment risked crude oil contaminating the Mississippi River, as it intersects with the Galena River not far from the accident site, as well as with the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
Oil Transportation in Illinois
Almost 500,000 shipments of oil
were transported by train last year through the region—an astronomical jump from the 9,500 in 2008. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates more than 200 crude oil and ethanol-carrying trains will derail over the next 20 years, with more than half of them likely to occur in urban areas. The success of the Bakken oil patch in North Dakota means even more trains will pass through Illinois and major population areas. This particular form of crude oil is highly combustible
. This would be devastating to the public health, environment, infrastructure, property owners, and consumers.
Trains derail and cause accidents for a variety of reasons, including weakened train cars, poor infrastructure and upkeep of railroad tracks, conductor fatigue and fast driving, and cars and pedestrians ignoring warning signs. Human error accounts for 38 percent of train accidents and historically human error has been the cause for the most fatal accidents.
Sustaining Injuries in a Train Accident
It seems far-fetched to think an oil train derailment can affect you or your loved ones, but it is not. In fact, there was such an incident in Quebec only a few years ago. The July 2013 catastrophe
led to 47 deaths when a runaway crude oil train crashed into the city center. A recent West Virginia accident in February burned down a house, shot fire hundreds of feet into the air, contaminated the local water, and forced over 2,400 residents to evacuate. An accident in a major urban area is not a far-fetched idea. Major crude oil lines run past cities such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
If you have been involved in an accident or have suffered personal injury or property damage due to a derailed train, please contact an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney
at Mevorah Law Offices, LLC. We can walk you through the claims process to ensure you receive the maximum amount of recovery. Please contact us today if you need help.