A train that derailed and then exploded due to its ethanol contents is the cause of numerous lawsuits in Rockford, Illinois. It happened on June 19, 2009 and has led to numerous lawsuits of different claims. The most obvious claim is the one that extends from death and injury due to burn injuries sustained in the accident. But there are other claims that say the train company is liable because it put people in the danger zone of possibly being hurt or killed. There are also several claims from people who witnessed the accident for emotional trauma. While no one has yet to file a claim against the sheriff’s department there has been news and blogger speculation that there should be.
Apparently there were numerous 911 calls made to the Sheriff’s department about a section of washed out track. It was then reported to the railway company but they chose not to close the track and the Sheriff’s department did not act further on the issue. People stopped in their cars as the train passed said they knew something was wrong as the train cars were seen as “bouncing” along the track. Finally one completely derailed and landed in front of a stopped van. The contents of the car spilled and lit on fire killing one passenger in the van and severely injuring two others. Their injuries were from burns. The woman who died got out of the van and was engulfed in flames. Other stopped cars tried to get away and many watched in horror as the woman on fire burned to death before their eyes.
The family of van passengers have filed suit for the death of their mother and for their other injuries which included the loss of one woman’s baby only five months along. It is surmised that these burn injuries will be covered by the train company in a settlement.
Others, though, have filed suit for emotional damages for having been exposed to such danger that could have seriously killed or injured them. That and they say that the horror of watching one women die right before them leaves emotional injuries that last a long time and will need ongoing treatment. One man who has filed suit has already been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Rockford Register Star originally reported the story and some of its readers and bloggers have even ventured to say that the Sherriff’s office could be to blame for not taking a more active role in shutting down that stretch of track. No claims of this kind have been filed to date.
The burn injuries are certainly a valid claim for filing suit. Certainly the train company will have to try and prove they were not negligent in keeping that stretch of track open despite complaints. But emotional injuries are valid as well. They are considered just as damaging and can last longer than some physical injuries can. Be sure to get proper documentation of treatments for emotional injuries. While some criticize that people suing for emotional injuries are just jumping on the “money train”, these types of injuries can be extemely damaging and are worthy of filing suit if properly documented.