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Recent LIRR Crashes Raise Issue of Accident Liability

RR crossing freight trainPublic transit accidents are some of the most alarming cases Long Island injury attorneys pursue. For starters, these collisions are terrifying because the victims are almost always hapless passengers with no way of avoiding harm and no control in these situations. Secondly, the types of injuries sustained are often fatal or very serious due to the high speeds and lack of safety restraints. Passengers have every right to hold public transit operators to higher standards.

“Not all crashes warrant lawsuits,” say attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye. “However, train accidents are some of the most complex cases were litigate, so it’s worth taking a second look to see if there are other parties contributing to liability.”

Suffolk County injury marks third MTA crash in a month

The month from February to March 2015 marked a dangerous time in MTA history. The worst crash in Metro-North Railroad history occurred February 3rd when a northbound train in Valhalla, Westchester County struck an SUV sitting on the tracks, killing the driver and five passengers, as well as injuring dozens more. Up to 34 personal injury lawsuits are pending in court, according to The Journal News.

The second incident occurred on March 2 when an elderly woman received neck and back injuries after an LIRR train hit her Toyota Highlander at the Rocklyn Avenue grade crossing in East Rockaway, Nassau County. It’s believed the woman mistakenly found herself on the wrong side of the flashing signal and then tried to drive over the tracks to evade the oncoming train.

The most recent MTA train accident occurred just one day later when an eastbound Long Island Rail Road train demolished a car at the Rider Avenue grade crossing in Patchogue, Suffolk County. The local fire department believes the Ford Focus slid on ice and smashed through the lowered gates before impact from the decelerating train. None of the 13 passengers aboard the train were injured, but the driver, 67-year-old Gary Calderon, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

“The car went airborne like it was a toy,” recalls eyewitness Wayne Berry. “[The car] got spun around and dragged like a rag doll.”

It’s unlikely any charges will be filed, but the incident has the Federal Railroad Administration calling on public officials to stiffen the penalties on drivers who ignore the signals and police officers to beef up security around crossings.

Who can be held accountable in a Long Island railroad crossing accident lawsuit?

To people who are unfamiliar with the law or the circumstances behind a train accident, the case may seem pretty cut-and-dry: either the driver of the car or the train operator must have been somehow at fault. However, as attorneys at Edelman, Krasin and Jaye point out, there are many other parties that may assume some or all of the liability in these collisions.

Liable parties in railroad accidents in New York may include:

  • Negligent motorists who blew through the light, causing train passenger injuries
  • Railroad companies who failed to adequately train or monitor their staff for recklessness
  • Train engineers who fell asleep, test positive for illicit substances or used mobile devices while driving the train
  • State and local municipalities who failed to maintain a safe crossing
  • Employers who hire drivers with a history of traffic infractions that went on to cause a train accident
  • Freight owners who overload cars or fail to adhere to safety rules regarding safe transit of cargo
  • Railcar manufacturers with a history of design flaws or maintenance issues

Need an LIRR crash lawyer?

Long Island train accident attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye have a long history of investigating railroad crossing cases in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. Since their first case in 1952 our lawyers have been providing honest, direct legal counsel and fighting for the best interests of our clients. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free legal consultation if you or a loved one has suffered a recent injury involving a Long Island Rail Road train.