New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Train Accidents & Personal Injury Lawsuits

Posted on Feb 2, 2018 in Personal Injury, Personal Injury FAQs, Train Accidents

According to the most recent statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), there was a total of 43 train-related deaths between 2004 and 2013 involving Metro-North trains. A total of 84 deaths occurred solely on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) during the same period.

Between 2011 and the end of 2014, there was a total of 248 deaths. Other statistics reveal that in 2013, there were about 700 registered rail fatalities in the United States.

One of the most catastrophic accidents that can occur and take lives is a train accident. Every year we hear of at least one train accident that results in injuries and death, on top of this the extensive property damage is nothing to shrug your shoulders over either.

In a train accident, damages are frequently in the millions, and in some major accidents, even hundreds of millions of dollars. If a railroad company is liable for an accident that caused you severe injury, or the death of a loved one, the company can be held liable for the damages or the resulting wrongful death of a family member.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Start After a Train Accident in Philadelphia

A man named Derrell Robbson who sustained injury due to a train accident on August 22nd, 2017 in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit against the transportation authority of the city.

Robbson claimed that he suffered a head injury and lost consciousness when a train from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) crashed into a parked train on the Norristown High Speed Line at the 69th Street Transportation Center. The accident injured 32 other passengers as well.

Robert Mongeluzzi and Tom Kline are the attorneys who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the 26-year-old Robbson and alleged that the rail was traveling very fast at a rather unsafe speed. Mongeluzzi said that no excuse could be given upon crashing into another train and that it was clearly the transportation organization, SEPTA’s failure that caused the accident, either by operator error or mechanical failure, or both.

Although the National Transportation Safety Board had not yet determined the cause of the train crash, Robbson stated in his lawsuit that he witnessed the conductor of the SEPTA train rushing. His lawsuit, also claimed that two prior stops were overshot by the engineer before the accident took place and that he was speeding as he approached the station on 69th Street.

According to news reports, on that fateful day, Robbson hopped onto the train near Rosemont College. The train jumped two stops along the Norristown line, which made the conductor decide on backing up the train in order to pick up people waiting to board the train. As it approached the stop on 69th Street, it smashed into a parked train that was fortunately empty.

In his lawsuit, Robbson claimed that he banged his head and was knocked unconscious by the collision. He sought a minimum of $50,000 in damages.

When speaking to the media, other passengers of the train corroborated Robbson’s version of events. In a news interview, a passenger, Ronnie, said that the conductor running the train was overshooting stations. He said that while he was awaiting the train at Gulph Mills, it came by and blew past the awaiting passengers by about two or three train lengths. It then halted, backed up and picked them up. The very same thing took place at the Bryn Mawr station.

Raymond Woodard, another passenger, said that the train appeared to be speeding. He said that he fell asleep in the train and heard the train going “super-fast.” He looked up and saw that they were at 69th Street and thought why they were going fast. It was then that they hit the parked train.

In response to a SEPTA train crash that grievously injured 3 people on February 21st, 2017, the NTSB strongly suggested that the authorities install several cameras facing inward and outward on its trains. According to the agency, cameras aimed at the conductor and the tracks would have facilitated investigators to determine the cause of the crash.

SEPTA said that it made plans to install cameras on all of its subway and elevated trains by the end of 2017.

The NTSB said that two onboard cameras provided video evidence of the crash on 69th Street.

SEPTA also has an ATC, or Automatic Train Control, a system that is designed to prevent accidents like the one that took place at the 69th Street Transportation Center. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the signaling system, which costs $750 million, is designed to ensure signal stops, maintain a safe distance between trains, alert conductors to broken rails, prevent speeding and ensure the safety of railroad workers. SEPTA is reviewing its ATC system to find out if the August 22nd crash was caused by a systemic mechanical failure.

Robbson’s attorneys were also the legal representatives of the Amtrak 188 crash that occurred in 2015 and killed 8 people and injured more than 800 others. They are pushing for Positive Train Control installation on all public trains.

Train Accident Lawsuits

Train accident lawsuits are similar to other civil claims that involve personal injury or wrongful death. One exception is that they may involve a large number of other injured parties than found in other types of personal injury lawsuits.

A train accident lawsuit begins when you file a complaint with a court that holds jurisdiction over the accident. The train company and their insurance company file a response, which includes any defense they may have. During a “discovery” period, the parties involved exchange evidence, which is then followed by several hearings regarding any pretrial arguments and motions.

When these motions take place, the parties debate over which points and facts that they agree upon, what evidence may or may not be admitted and several other preliminary matters.

Next, a trial takes place. After the trial, a jury renders a verdict and if the railroad or train company is held liable for the accident, the amount of damages is set.

Settlement negotiations may take place after a judgment is rendered because either party has the right to appeal the decision of the court. They make seek a settlement after judgment in exchange for an agreement from the other party not to pursue an appeal on the verdict.

Settlement Negotiations in a Train Accident Lawsuit

A large number of the claims that manifest themselves from train accidents are generally negotiated and settled out of court. In many cases, state transit authorities and train companies would prefer to avoid the negative press and exposure that can come up in the course of a lawsuit. Settlements also allow all involved parties to evade the risk and expense involved in a lawsuit.

Negotiations for a settlement in a train accident case may take place before, during, or after a lawsuit is finished. Generally, settlements involve an exchange of offers in which the parties involved make proposals on the amount they think would cover the damages caused by the accident.

A settlement in a lawsuit has both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, an early settlement for a claim can help in making sure that the company has the resources to pay the amount that both parties agreed upon. However, a settlement also does away with the possibility of a jury award that could be a much higher amount than the company would otherwise agree to pay.

Severely Injured Passenger in Train Derailment Files Lawsuit Against Amtrak

26-year-old Seattle resident Aaron Harris filed a lawsuit against Amtrak. He sustained severe injuries in the train derailment that occurred in Dupont, Washington. Harris suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as well as multiple serious fractures when the Amtrak train, he was a passenger on, went off the tracks and derailed. He filed a lawsuit against the rail carrier in King County Superior Court.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of safety measures that were increased as proposed by Amtrak after the derailment took place. However, the changes made by the carrier are too late for the recent tragedy’s many victims, like Harris.

Harris was traveling to Portland from his Seattle home when the speeding train – it was running at almost 80 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone – lost control and derailed on a sharp curve before it dove off an overpass. It resulted in the death of three persons aboard and injured dozens more. The accident caused a TBI as well as fractures to his ribs and vertebrae, requiring him to spend about 10 days in the acute care and intensive care units at Harborview Medical Center.

After being discharged from the hospital, Harris returned to his parents’ home and continued to receive ongoing treatment, care and monitoring for the injuries he sustained in the train accident. He was unable to return to his job as manager at a wellness center called Float Seattle, and his long-term prognosis was not clear.

His attorney, said that Harris was an active sportsman as well as an outdoorsman. However, due to the catastrophic mistakes made by Amtrak, his life boiled down to struggling to overcome a traumatic brain injury.

The attorney also said that the horrific nature of the accident left Harris unable to remember anything about it, but that he and his firm would make sure to help him and his family find out the exact cause of the derailment and work to ensure that such a needless tragedy does not happen again. Harris said that he was determined to understand why Amtrak did not take measures to protect the safety of its crew and passengers.

Harris’ attorney also said that Amtrak has promised a number of safety changes, but it was clear that all the carrier was doing was playing catch up. He said that it has been 10 years since the company was directed to install positive train control in its trains.

Amtrak has made a lot of excuses as well as empty promises. The attorney also added that the CEP of Amtrak said that he wanted to learn from tragedies like this, but the question was how many lessons it would take before Amtrak was held accountable for safety.

Harris’s attorney Robert Gellatly and his law firm represented a number of individuals who were injured as passengers on the derailed Amtrak train as well in motor vehicles that were struck by the train on Interstate 5.

Liability Cap in Train Accident Cases

It’s vital to remember that your ability to recover damages in a train accident lawsuit may be limited in certain cases. In 1997, Congress passed a law that capped the overall liability of railroads or train companies to $200 million for passenger rail accidents. This means that accidents that are truly catastrophic may result in injuries and damages that far exceed the cap in aggregate.

Since the implementation of the cap, there have been a number of train accidents that have resulted in damages that have far exceeded the cap limit. The liability cap applies to all passenger personal injury claims against high-speed commuter authorities, railroad authorities, rail carriers, operators, or states.

Get a Free Evaluation for Your Train Accident Claim

Railroad or train companies devote a major amount of resources to deal with train accident lawsuits filed against them though some companies do a better job at avoiding these issues but this is another topic. They, along with their insurance companies, hire committed and motivated legal pros to represent them and argue their side. This is why you should also hire a reliable and judicious personal injury attorney to represent your interests and no one is better in this game than RMFW Law.

RMFW Law has won millions of dollars for past clients and you too can be on this shining list. Call them today if you have been in a train accident of any kind!

You need to make sure that your rights are protected and that you obtain fair compensation for your injuries and other damages as you are legally entitled to. Having a fantastic legal counselor by your side is the best way to ensure this and that the train company does not escape from being held liable for the negligence that led to the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, you should immediately seek legal counsel from a fabulous and accomplished personal injury lawyer such as Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212-697-9280.

Our Effort is Second to None!

Our legal team has years of experience in handling train accident claims. Before taking on your case, the attorney assigned to your case will evaluate your claim free of cost and determine if it is viable.

Once it is determined that you have a credible claim to file a train accident lawsuit, your attorney will take the necessary steps to begin your lawsuit against the company and suitable targets and make sure that you obtain compensation for your injuries and other damages.

We know this arena! We know the tactics of the other side. Do not sign any paper work with them; their offer will not cover everything that matters. How about your missed time at work?

Let’s hear what you have to say. We will help you cover all aspects of where you are entitled to damages if your case is viable. Call us now!

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