Illinois Appellate Court Discusses Government Tort Immunity in Multiple Fatality Railroad Crossing Accident Case

When you suffer an injury as the result of the negligence or recklessness of a government actor, there are different rules that apply to how you must proceed with your potential personal injury claim. Illinois law recognizes government immunity from certain tort claims through the Local Governmental Tort Immunity Act. If you or a loved one was injured as the result of a government actor, it can be incredibly difficult to understand how this statute may impact your right to recovery. The seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyers at Therman Law Offices are prepared to assist you with understanding your potential rights.

Recently, The Illinois Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case against a local government entity alleging that it was responsible for the death of multiple parties in a collision that happened at a railroad crossing. The facts of the dispute are as follows. A woman was driving four of her children to a local Halloween parade. She was approaching a railroad crossing on Sixth Street following a line of traffic approaching the parade grounds. As she was crossing the tracks, traffic stopped suddenly and the railroad crossing initiated. The gates closed and the woman was unaware of an approaching train. She attempted to drive forward away from the tracks when the car was struck by an eastbound freight train traveling 46 miles per hour. Only one occupant of the vehicle survived the collision.

The administrator of the decedents’ estate brought a negligence action against multiple parties including the local city. The city filed a motion to dismiss itself from the lawsuit on the grounds that it was immune from tort liability under the statute. The lower court certified the issue of whether the city was immune, which means it asked the appellate court to issue an opinion providing guidance on the issue. The lower court also certified a question asking whether the city owed the woman driving the vehicle and the occupants of her car a duty to keep them safe from hazards associated with the railroad crossing.

The appellate court reviewed the evidence in the record and determined that the city had a duty to ensure that the crossing was a safe place for the public as the alleged property owner of the area. Turning to government immunity, it concluded that the city was immune from claims of negligence and willful and wanton conduct when implementing crowd control and traffic because those actions are recognized as a police protection service under the state’s government tort immunity law.

If you were injured in an accident that involves government entities, it is important to speak with a seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your potential rights. Few things are more stressful and painful than experiencing an injury due to another person’s carelessness or recklessness. While you and your family cope with this serious disruption in your lives, the dedicated team of personal injury lawyers at Therman Law Offices will ensure that your rights are asserted to the fullest extent. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call us now at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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