Brooklyn Train Accident Lawyer

While train accidents in Brooklyn are not something we hear about every day, they have been on the rise in the last few years. In a recent article that appeared in Newsweek Magazine, the writer, Victoria Bekiempis notes that on the Long Island Railroad alone, deaths involving NY train accidents are up by 225 percent between 2004 and 2013. Bekiempis quotes a Federal Railroad Administration spokesman who told Newsweek, “About every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Highway-rail grade crossing incidents account for 32 percent of all rail-related fatalities. We urge people to remain vigilant, don’t get distracted, and if they see tracks, they should think that a train is coming.”

Train Crash in a Small Town

Train Accident in New York? Follow This Guide

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, (NTSB), up to 6 million daily riders use the New York City subways. In addition, there are about 290,000 commuter train riders per week on Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). And, while trains are generally safe, train accidents in New York, unfortunately, do occur.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics indicated that nationwide there were 1,870 train accidents, of which 1,341 were due to train derailment, 85 were due to a railroad collision, and the remainder from other causes.

According to preliminary 2022 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics, 2,184 highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurred in 2022. There were 274 crossing fatalities and 774 crossing injuries in 2022 across the U.S.

The most recent derailment that made headline news involved a freight train in Ohio in February 2023, with officials investigating the toxic crash.

Why Does a Train Accident Happen?

Two principal causes of train accidents and passenger injuries are human error and equipment failure. Human error could be on the part of a train operator or the fault of a driver trying to cross the train tracks.

Human error by the conductor or engineer may include negligence. For example, a conductor may become distracted by a mobile phone, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fail to follow safety protocols, travel at an unsafe speed, or otherwise not adhere to the rules of the job.

Equipment failure is another leading cause of train accidents. This could include:

  • Brake failure or malfunction
  • Defective rails or improper track maintenance
  • Malfunctioning warning lights, sounds, or gates
  • Defective hand brakes
  • Broken handrails
  • Defective communication equipment

A personal injury lawyer in New York can assess a case involving a train accident in which victims were injured and help determine liability, including whether it involves negligence on the part of a railroad company employee or equipment failure.

In addition, as with any other personal injury cases, there are also a number of rules regarding deadlines.

Safety Tips for Subway, Commuter Trains

  • Step back from the platform’s edge.
  • Refrain from peering over the rails to see if a train is approaching.
  • Wait to move forward until the train has completely stopped and the doors open.
  • Never step on the railroad tracks. Inform a police officer or train station personnel if you drop something. Don’t ever retrieve it on your own.
  • On a train platform, always walk.
  • When entering or exiting a commuter or subway train with doors that open and close quickly, make sure that anything attached to your body (such as loose or drawstring clothing, long hair, bags, or a backpack) is completely through the doors. If traveling with kids, hold their hands and assist them on and off the train.
  • Use only designated subway doors. Never board between vehicles.
  • If a subway door begins to close while you are entering or exiting the train, do not stop it.
  • Never ride between cars or lean against doors on a moving subway train.
  • Hold a pole or hand strap in a moving subway car if you’re standing.

Who’s Liable in a New York Train Accident?

Liability can be difficult to determine, especially if the accident involved a train owned by a municipal authority such as the MTA. There are a different rules when filing a lawsuit against a public transportation entity versus suing a private individual or company.

A vehicle driver, train personnel, the train company, the entity responsible for the safety of the tracks and stations, or the manufacturer of certain train parts could all be held liable. A personal injury attorney experienced in train collisions and other related accidents can conduct discovery and investigate the accident to determine who is responsible (there may be more than one responsible party).

Train Accidents & MTA Subway Injury Claims

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority serves a population of 15.3 million people across a 5,000-square-mile travel area surrounding New York City, Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut. The MTA network includes the country’s largest bus fleet and more subway and commuter rail cars than all other U.S. transit systems combined.

Passengers who suffer injuries from a train or subway accident can sue the MTA, but it’s a complex process. Prior to filing a lawsuit, the injured party must first serve a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident.

If the Notice of Claim is not filed within this time frame, the case may be dismissed when it is submitted to the courts. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure a Notice of Claim is filed in a timely and legally correct manner.

Train Accident Compensation

Depending on the details of the accident, the extent of injuries and liability, injured train passengers can recover damages for the following:

  • Current and future medical treatment
  • Lost wages from time off of work as a result of the injury
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Assistive devices and services if disabled and unable to continue daily activities
  • Cost to replace damaged or destroyed property
  • Emotional distress, including pain and suffering and mental anguish
  • Funeral and burial costs if you’re the surviving family member of a person who died in a train accident

Contact the Law Office of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas

Nicholas E. Tzaneteas, train car accident attorney, has helped victims that were injured and their families as a result of an accident involving a crash, derailed train car, or train collision as passengers in a vehicle. Attorney Tzaneteas serves residents throughout Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan. Call (718) 704-5519 for a free consultation to review your case.

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