According to the Chicago Tribune, the estate of a man from Quebec, who was killed in the recent train derailment, has filed a negligence lawsuit in Cook County against 10 different defendants. The litigation stems from an accident that killed more than 40 people, as the train carrying oil exploded when it derailed and crashed in Lac-Megantic. When a person dies as a result of another’s negligent actions or in actions, the decedent’s family may bring a wrongful death action to attempt to recover damages for their suffering and losses. In such cases, people are encouraged to contact a local personal injury attorney with experience handling wrongful death claims.
Losing a loved one in an unexpected and tragic accident, one which could have been avoided or prevented, is difficult enough, without having to handle the legal side of matters without an attorney who you can trust. Experienced counsel will know the intricacies of Illinois law and will be able to guide the family through an emotional and trying experience.
A surviving spouse or other family member typically brings wrongful death suits. In order to bring the negligence action, one would need to first determine the preliminary cause of the accident. Without being able to establish that the defendant acted in a negligent manner, there would be no such viable action. In this case, the plaintiff (decedent’s estate) is bringing an action against 10 defendants, one of whom is a local businessman and his company, which is allegedly affiliated with the railroad involved in the accident.
According to the complaint, the decedent lived in Lac-Megantic and was allegedly “consumed by the fire and explosion” when the derailment and crash occurred. The administrator of the estate is requesting a jury trial and greater than $50,000 in damages, alleging wrongful death-negligence. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that safety lapses amounted to negligence that allowed that crash to take place. As for other actions arising out of this accident, there is reported to be a class action lawsuit filed in Quebec by survivors of the crash against some of the defendants also named here.
Plaintiff may seek recovery under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, which was amended in 2007 to give plaintiffs the right to seek recovery for grief, sorrow and mental suffering. Before the law was revised, plaintiffs were limited to bringing an action for economic damages, including the loss of wages and funeral costs. With the amendments in place, victims now have the opportunity to present evidence specifically addressing one’s grief, sorrow and mental suffering of a parent, spouse or other family member.
There seems to be an extensive number of potential lawsuits that will likely arise from the train derailment and explosion. There are a horrific number of deaths and other casualties as well as a number of possible defendants. One of the main goals will be to pinpoint the cause or causes of the tragedy in order to identify the negligent parties and their deadly actions (or inactions) that led to the accident. An experienced injury attorney will know how to approach the case and handle each part of the procedure to achieve the best possible recovery for the client.