The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

How to Sue the CTA

How do you sue the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)? This is likely one of many questions being raised after a mysterious Chicago Metro train crash involving a completely unoccupied train. In this recent crash, an empty "ghost" train ended up colliding with another one, one with passengers on-board, the Associated Press reports.

Passenger Kim Quatch, the first to file a claim stemming from this incident, is seeking at least $50,000 in damages stemming from this crash.

Though the cause is still somewhat unknown, there are likely to be other injured parties who will want to claim damages. If so, how does one go about suing the CTA? Here's a general overview:

Suing a Municipality

If one is injured by a party who is connected to a municipality, the injured person can sue for damages. However, there is a special step involved when one wants to sue the government. In this case, the CTA is a municipal corporation, which means that if one wanted to file a claim against the CTA, he or she would have to follow that special process.

When one sues a municipality, there is an additional requirement that you file a "notice of claim" within a certain number of days. The reasoning behind this claim is that governments (and their subdivisions) may be entitled to immunity from lawsuits and often can't be sued without permission.

Suing the Chicago Transit Authority

Illinois had a special requirement for victims of accidents involving the CTA under Section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act. This entailed a special six-month notice requirement, meaning that all suits brought after six months (even due to clerical errors or other simple, non-substantive mistakes) were dismissed, regardless of their legitimacy.

However, as of 2009, that rule has been repealed. CTA cases now need to be brought within the normal one-year statute of limitations. This means that for those who have been injured by this most recent CTA-related collision, their claims must be brought forth within the next 12 months.

Personal injury claims are often difficult enough on their own. Add in a municipality and it's taken to a whole new level of complication. If you've been involved in an injury because of the CTA or any other government subsidiary, make sure you contact a local attorney for help with your case.

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