An Illinois wrongful death case was recently tried and found in favor of the decedent’s widow, who was awarded $5 million by the Cook County jury. The verdict was against Metra and found the Chicago-based railroad liable for the Illinois train accident that caused the decedent’s death.
On the day of the Illinois train accident, the decedent was standing on a train platform at a Berwyn, Illinois train station and waiting for a train to take him to work. He was waiting in the same place he waited every morning, on the northeast corner of the platform. However, on that day the commuter train that normally arrived on the south platform had been re-routed to the station’s north platform due to the approach of an unscheduled freight train, which required the waiting commuters to move to a different track.
A ticketing agent informed those commuters waiting on the south platform of the change in tracks and suggested they cross the train tracks while the gates were down. An announcement was also made over the public address system, however, the north platform that the decedent was standing on was not equipped with speakers. Therefore, what the blind decedent heard was an unclear, muffled message to which he responded to by crossing the tracks.
At trial the decedent’s estate alleged that Metra had failed to provide an adequate public address system to give proper messages to Illinois commuters. Furthermore, that the train conductor failed to sound the train’s horn or follow the basic safety procedures in place for unscheduled train activity. As a result the blind Illinois resident was struck and killed by the Metra train that he had intended to take to work.