Initial Reports Indicate Fatigue and Speed Factors in CTA Blue Line Derailment at O’Hare

 Posted on March 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

By: Daniel M. Kotin

Initial reports from the O’Hare Airport CTA Station indicate that operator fatigue and speed may have been factors in the 2:50 a.m. derailment of the CTA Blue Line train at that station on March 24, 2014. As lead counsel in multiple commuter train derailments in the past, we have seen that operator error in failing to reduce speed is a common cause of a train leaving its tracks and crashing.  In 2005, two women were killed and 117 injured when a Metra train failed to reduce speed at a track crossover causing it to leave its tracks and crash into a bridge.  Despite all of the automated technology, primary control of train movement and speed still remains the responsibility of the train operator. Initial witness reports from the early morning derailment at O’Hare indicate that the train entered the station at a far greater speed than usual.  If these indications are proven true, a primary cause of the derailment may lie with the operator. Although no consolation to the 30 people reported injured, the fact that this derailment took place at 2:50 a.m. during a time of light commuter traffic may have prevented a much more catastrophic tragedy.  As lead counsel of a claim involving another CTA Blue Line derailment in 2006, the injuries numbered in the hundreds since the derailment took place in a CTA tunnel just outside the Loop during rush hour on a Tuesday afternoon.  Investigation of that derailment revealed that track maintenance was the primary cause. Despite the fact that lawyers for injured passengers still must prove negligence on the part of the CTA and/or its employees in order to recover money damages for these victims, the task of doing so is made easier by the fact that Illinois law places a heightened responsibility on public transportation operators to avoid injuries to its passengers.  As a common carrier, the Chicago Transit Authority owes the “highest duty of care” to safely transport members of the public who use its trains and buses.

Share this post:
  • Badges and associations
  • Badges and associations

Call Us312-605-8800fax312-605-8808

161 North Clark Street, Suite 3050
Chicago, IL 60601

Back to Top