Attorneys Helping Chicago Accident Victims of Train, Bus or Subway Negligence
There is a reason that mass transit accidents attract so much attention in the press, and it's not just because large vehicles are involved. Mass transit accidents, when they occur, can be among the most deadly incidents in the nation, hurting and killing many dozens of people in a single collision. Even when mass transit is involved with a more conventional vehicle such as a car, truck or motorcycle, the results are typically catastrophic.
Causes of Mass Transit Accidents
Trains, buses and taxis are known as common carriers, a designation that brings with it heightened responsibilities for the operators of such vehicles. The reason is simple: Major vehicles tend to precipitate major accidents, and the public as a trust relies on such vehicles, and their drivers, inherently. When driver negligence, poor maintenance, errant dispatching or another factor contributes to a preventable accident, juries weigh what is called "aggravated liability," a heightened perspective commensurate with the scale of the vehicle. It is not unusual for mass transit accidents to result in settlements that simply dwarf the kind of damages you might expect from a traditional car accident.
You Have Come to the Right Place
Don't lose your right to sue! There are statutes of limitations on these types of personal injury claims and Cavanagh Law Group is widely considered one of the nation's foremost experts in personal injury law, motor vehicle accidents and especially mass transit accidents. Timothy J. Cavanagh has been named one of the top 500 plaintiffs' lawyers in the United States by Lawdragon Magazine, and today this firm boasts a superior reputation for aggressive and effective litigation throughout Illinois and the country. We have won a number of major settlements in this area, including the single largest settlement in Illinois history.
Some of our sample mass transit accident settlements include:
- Szynalik v. Chicago Transit Authority, et al.
Settlement: $5,550,000 — On the eve of trial, Cavanagh Law Group obtained a $5.55 million settlement for the family of a woman killed in Chicago on December 31, 2007. Ludwika Szynalik, age 59, was a passenger on a Chicago Transit Authority bus traveling west on Addison Street near its intersection with Natchez Avenue. When the bus stopped, Szynalik exited the bus and went to retrieve her bicycle that she had previously placed on the bus' front bicycle rack. As Szynalik attempted to remove her bicycle, the CTA's bus driver suddenly accelerated, ran her over and dragged her approximately 100 feet down the street. Szynalik was immediately rushed by paramedics to a nearby hospital where she survived for just a few hours.
The day after Szynalik's death, Cavanagh Law Group had a protective order entered to preserve all evidence related to the horrific incident. Numerous cameras installed on the CTA bus recorded Szynalik in the last moments of her life. The video footage shows the bus accelerating and running over Szynalik while she is clearly in view of the bus driver. For five years, the CTA denied that their driver was at fault, even though the CTA's own video clearly captured the horrific events. The settlement was agreed upon only after the CTA finally admitted that their driver was at fault.
- Kuk v. Metra
Settlement: $1,800,000 — On Sunday, October 12, 2003, Kathryn Kuk, Steven Kuk and Megan Kuk were passengers on a Metra train that was transporting passengers from Chicago to Joliet, Illinois. As the Metra train approached the intersection of Federal Street and 47th Street in Chicago, the train's engineer missed a red stop light. The train derailed at a speed of 68 mph, where the maximum speed was 10 mph. As a result of the derailment, Kathryn Kuk sustained an aggravation of a preexisting spinal cord condition, Grade II Spondylolisthesis. Kathryn required two fusion surgeries and also had a permanent spinal cord pain stimulator implanted. Steven and Megan sustained minor injuries and were treated and released.
On August 13, 2012, Cavanagh Law Group partners, Tim Cavanagh and Matt Rundio, went to trial in front of Judge Michael Panter in the Circuit Court of Cook County. While Metra admitted liability it contested the nature and extent of Kathryn Kuk's injuries. After a jury was selected, Kuk's attorneys presented numerous doctors who testified about Kathryn's injuries, surgeries and preexisting condition. On the fifth day of trial the parties settled for $1.8 million.
- Velarde v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., et. al.
Resulted in a total verdict of: $55,715,406.65 and a $21,310,406.65 verdict for Passengers — On February 8, 2002, after a two-week trial, Timothy J. Cavanagh received a record verdict in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of his clients, Fidel and Francisca Velarde. They were awarded a total of $21,310,406.65 for injuries suffered in a January 9, 2001, car/train collision. Fidel, age 73, and Francisca, age 73, were passengers of an SUV struck by an 8 million pound train at 50 miles per hour. The crossing gates and lights were not working and the dispatcher erroneously told the train crew that the crossing was protected. The plaintiffs suffered traumatic brain injuries in the collision. The total award to the Velardes and their daughter, who was the driver of the car, totaled over $55 million--a state record in Illinois for a railroad crossing collision case. The trial of the lawsuit was expedited at the request of plaintiffs' counsel due to the Velardes' age.
- Ajmeri v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., et al.
Resulted in a total settlement: $9,100,000 — On September 21, 2000, Hanifa Ajmeri settled her personal injury case for $9.1 million. Hanifa Ajmeri was severely injured in March 1998 after the car she was riding in collided with a train in DuPage County. Ms. Ajmeri was left with nerve and mild brain damage.
The case stemmed from an accident in Bloomingdale, Illinois, when a car that carried Ajmeri was hit by a train owned by the Illinois Central Railroad Co. At the time of the accident, the train was operated by Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad Co.
According to her attorney, Timothy J. Cavanagh, railroad crossing lights were not visible at the time of the accident due to blizzard-like weather conditions, and the crossing gate for the southbound traffic had been knocked down.
The settlement was reached while counsel was picking a jury. The trial was slated to begin that same afternoon.
Contact Cavanagh Law Group Today
If you or a loved one has been in an accident and wants to begin the process of recovering your losses, please call Cavanagh Law Group at 312-425-1900 today. We work on a contingency basis, so you don't have to worry about any fees unless you win. We look forward to earning you a settlement that can help mitigate the pain you have experienced.
Free Consultation — You Will Not Be Charged a Fee Unless You Receive Compensation.
Contact Cavanagh Law Group today at 312-425-1900, or by email.
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