New York Train Accident Attorneys
Train accidents are, tragically, a common occurrence in the United States. Trains, train crossings and train stations can be extremely dangerous for many reasons, include the high speed of trains, human and mechanical error, and tight scheduling. New York City train services are used daily by hundreds of thousands of commuters traveling into Manhattan and the surrounding Boroughs. Considering the city’s density and heavy train use, it is especially important that passengers are kept safe from injury when riding the train. It is the responsibility of the transportation services and the companies or governments that own them to safely transport commuters traveling into New York City.
New York City Railroad Services
New York is home to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH). The MTA is North America’s largest transportation network providing 2.73 billion trips each year to New Yorkers. They also operate two of the largest commuter railroads in the country, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and the Metro-North Railroad, which have a combined annual ridership of around 170.5 million. The PATH train serves Newark, Harrison, Hoboken, and Jersey City, as well as Lower and Midtown Manhattan, and has an annual ridership of around 33.8 million.
New York City is also a main hub of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, more commonly known as Amtrak, which operates a nationwide rail network that serves over 500 destinations in 46 states. Amtrak provides train service to over 30.8 million people annually, with its New York City line carrying around 10.2 million of those passengers.
What Causes Train Accidents?
Accidents are often caused by the negligence of train operators and train owners. Train accident injuries are commonly caused by:
- A train striking cars or pedestrians at crossings
- People struck while boarding
- Track problems
- Train derailment
- Train-on-train collisions
- Electrocution on the tracks
- People struck after falling from the platform onto the tracks
- A slip and fall in the station
Frequently, these accidents result in serious and/or fatal injuries. There are also train accident victims who do not immediately appear hurt after an accident but whose pain may worsen days after the accident. Those people injured should seek medical attention and legal representation as soon as possible.
Who Is Responsible For Injuries That Occur And What Can I Recover?
Generally, the railroad industry is regulated by federal law, but state laws and agencies may also play a role. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the primary agency that regulates safety throughout the railroad industry, there are around 3,000 train accidents each year in the United States, resulting in roughly 1,000 deaths. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also regulates rail safety and is typically the agency that investigates and determines the cause of railroad accidents. In New York, the MTA and New York Police Department are also likely to investigate in the event of a train accident.
The railroad’s responsibility to injured parties differs depending on whether they were an employee of the railroad, a passenger on the train, or a third party such as a pedestrian or motorist injured at a railroad crossing. In order to determine if the railroad company was at fault, it must be found that the railroad company was responsible for the accident and was acting in a negligent manner. If the railroad is found to be responsible, the next thing to determine is to what extent they are liable.
In the event of an injury, damages can include past and future medical bills, past and future wage loss, pain and suffering, emotion distress, and disability. In the event of death, loved ones will have a claim for loss of income, emotional distress, and the loss of their loved one.
Our Expertise In Train Accident Cases:
The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff has extensive history in representing victims of train accidents in some of the highest-publicized cases in New York and the nation. Our personal injury train accident attorneys have handled some of New York’s highest profile train accident and disaster cases such as the Valhalla Train Crash (Westchester train crossing collision), Fairfield Train Crash (Bridgeport crash), and Metro North Spuyten Duyvil derailment. Our firm is renowned for our skillful and aggressive litigation of these cases. As a result, we have been nationally recognized as an authority on train accident lawsuits and have frequently appeared in the media.
The firm’s principal, Michael S. Lamonsoff, Esq., has appeared on television, radio, and print press regarding the biggest train accidents and disasters in recent history. Our peerless reputation has led to our firm being retained by the victims of train disasters in other states such as the Bridgeport, Connecticut train derailment and the Halifax, North Carolina train-crossing collision.
How We Will Fight For You:
We will aggressively fight for you in order to win the highest award possible in your case. Our train accident attorneys will investigate the cause of your accident by reviewing all accident reports from eyewitness accounts, expert analysis by engineers in the field, and official investigations such as those released by the National Transportation Safety Board. We will also conduct a thorough review of the train’s maintenance history, the driver’s record, and the driver’s physical and mental condition at the time of the accident.
We retain world-class experts and investigators. Once our investigation determines responsibility, we seek compensation from any potentially liable party. The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff also boasts some of New York’s toughest and most experienced attorneys. We are ready, willing, and able to try your train accident case against the companies and government agencies responsible for your injury.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a train accident, you may have suffered serious, life-altering injuries. Along with your pain and suffering, you’ve likely incurred medical bills, lost wages, and possibly funeral expenses in the event of a wrongful death. The train accident lawyers at our law firm understand the financial and emotional toll a train accident takes on victims and their families. We’re ready to help.
Recent Train Accidents
Valhalla Train Crash (February 2015) – On February 3, 2015, a Metro-North commuter train on the Harlem Line collided with a passenger car at a railroad crossing near Valhalla, New York. It killed six people and injured 15 others. The crash was the deadliest in Metro-North’s history, as well as the deadliest crash in the United States since the June 2009 Washington Metro train collision, which killed eight passengers and injured 80.
Three months after the accident, the MTA received 34 claims of negligence from the victims of the crash and their families. Most were from passengers injured or killed in the accident, and one was from the family of the driver of the SUV struck by the train. Litigation is still ongoing.
Fairfield Train Crash (May 2013) – On May 17, 2013, an east-bound Metro-North Railroad train derailed from the main track on the New Haven Line between the Fairfield Metro and Bridgeport stations in Fairfield, Connecticut. The derailed train was then struck by a westbound Metro-North train coming from New Haven, Connecticut. There were at least 65 injured out of the approximately 250 people on board each of the trains. Metro-North reported that the damages were around $18.5 million.
The final NTSB report was issued in October of 2014, stating the cause of the derailment was broken compromise joint bars (used to join two different-sized rails). The report also mentioned that Metro-North’s inspections were performed from a vehicle traveling high above the rail. The inspectors were unable to see all parts of the track due to distance. Over 25 lawsuits were filed and settled outside of court in connection with the crash.
Spuyten Duyvil Derailment (December 2013) – On December 1, 2013, a Metro-North Railroad passenger train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx. Four of the estimated 115 passengers were killed and 61 were injured. It was the deadliest train accident in New York City since 1991. It was the first accident in Metro-North’s history to result in passenger fatalities.
Early investigations found that the train had gone into the curve where it derailed at three times the posted speed limit. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it was likely that the accident would have been prevented if there were better safety measures. A year after the accident, the NTSB released its final report on the accident where it stated that the most direct cause was the driver’s inattention as the train entered the curve. The report blamed both Metro-North for not screening its employees in sensitive positions and the FRA for not requiring the screenings.
A year and a half after the accident, the Bronx D.A.’s office announced it would not be filing charges against the driver because there was no criminality in his behavior. The operator’s lawyer also said that since his client did not know of his medical condition (sleep apnea), he could not be considered to be negligent.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, contact us immediately for a free consultation. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff have over 100 years of combined experience and are ready to assist you today. You can contact us online or call us at any time at 212-962-1020 (toll free at 877-MSL-4LAW or 877-675-4529).