For residents of New York and New Jersey, trains are an essential part of daily life. From the New York City subway to the New Jersey Transit system to the hundreds of trains coming and going from Penn Station and Grand Central each day, thousands of people depend on trains to get where they need to go.
But sometimes, even with the best training of rail professionals and well maintained rail systems, train accidents can happen. New Yorkers were reminded painfully of this fact in September 2016 when a New Jersey commuter train failed to slow down before reaching the Hoboken station, derailed and slammed into the century-old building at 21 miles per hour.
Situations like this show how important it is for train commuters to understand their rights. Every time you ride the subway or the train, you entrust your life to the rail system and the people who run it. And despite the overall safety and reliability of New York and New Jersey trains, it only takes one train crash to seriously impact your life.
If you are involved in a train collision or subway accident in New York or New Jersey, you may be entitled to financial compensation to help with your hospital bills and other related expenses. As train accident attorneys in New York and New Jersey, we have helped many people injured by or on trains and subways receive the compensation they need to seek good medical care and recover their lives. We have put together the following article to help train passengers understand their rights. Keep reading to learn the steps that you can take to pursue justice for yourself or a loved one after a railway crash.
If you would like to speak to someone right away about your situation, call The Oshman Firm at (800) 400-8182. Your call is no cost, with no obligation to you, and is 100% confidential.
Train Accident Attorneys
Not every railway accident is as sobering as the Hoboken station train crash. Every year, New York and New Jersey see a large number of accidents that take place within their transit systems, such as electrical outages and derailments.
But even small-scale incidents like getting caught in a subway car’s closing doors or slipping and falling on a station platform can cause you significant harm. Busy commuters tend to exercise little caution as they hurry to catch trains, trusting all the while that the train system operators are maintaining safety on their behalf.
Railroad safety is regulated by both federal and state agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), who had been auditing the New Jersey Transit system for three months prior to the Hoboken station crash, due to an increase in safety violations. This was far from the first time the system had been under investigation; reports show that New Jersey transit owed over $400,000 in fines for violating numerous federal safety regulations since 2013. Nevertheless, despite having been cited yet again, the transit system continued to operate without completing any of the necessary changes to ensure passenger safety. As a result, over 100 people were injured and one person was killed in the Hoboken station crash.
Fighting a giant transit system that shows disregard for passenger safety is only one reason why it is important to seek the services of an experienced personal injury attorney if you or someone you love is victimized by a railway incident.
Injuries from Train Accidents
Train accidents may be caused by mechanical or electrical failures on the train, railway obstructions such as debris lying on the tracks, problems with the roadbed beneath the track, or maintenance failures in any part of the rail system. Many train-related injuries happen at railroad crossings, either from faulty signal equipment or electrical failures.
Naturally, human error can also be a major cause of train crash. It takes a large, well-trained crew of transportation operators to keep a train or subway running safely, and the impairment or distraction of just one crew member can be enough to cause a serious collision. In just one example, a 2010 train crash in Minneapolis was found to have resulted from crew fatigue, as well as an engineer using his cellular phone while operating the train.
Regardless of what causes a train accident, the consequences are seldom minor. Because of the train’s size, the inertia it builds while traveling and the lack of special protection for passengers, there is little to prevent a minor accident from resulting in a serious injury. A sudden stop can cause a fall that results in major physical trauma.
Train Accident Fatalities
While there are far fewer train-related fatalities each year than auto crash deaths, it is nevertheless true that the toll taken by train collision is often much more significant in terms of numbers than any highway crash.
While trains generally move at speeds slower than automobiles on the highway, their size, weight and inertia more than make up the difference in terms of capacity to cause harm. In addition, as a form of mass transit, a train incident generally affects hundreds more people than any given highway accident. In the case of the New Jersey commuter train crash, the incident occurred at one of the busiest transportation hubs in New York’s metropolitan area, potentially impacting hundreds of people. When the train crash occurred, not only did the collision endanger the lives of passengers and crew members, but it caused a partial collapse of the station roof. This in turn caused the death of a 43-year-old woman who was struck and killed by falling debris on the train platform.
A train-related fatality caused by a train operator’s negligence qualifies as wrongful death. If someone you love was the victim of a fatal train accident, you may be entitled to significant financial damages to cover hospital bills, funeral expenses, and the pain and suffering you have experienced. But in order to claim those damages, you need the help of an experienced transit attorney who can fight for your rights and demonstrate negligence and duty of care.
Most New York-area transit systems are difficult to fight when it comes to filing for financial compensation after a train-related injury or death. The Metro Transit Authority alone employs 49 tort lawyers whose sole job is to fight every case of personal injury filed against the system.
In order to receive the damages you deserve in return for the harm you have suffered in a train accident, it is imperative to have an experienced accident attorney on your side. If your injury was the result of a train operator’s negligence or failure to comply with safety regulations, let us help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today for a free, confidential discussion of your case.