Firm Operations Continue Uninterrupted During the Coronavirus. Click for More Information ›
Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Subway and Train Accident

Published on:

North East Corridor RailroadThe Northeast Corridor had one of the worst train accidents in decades when the Amtrak 188 train connecting Washington DC to New York City derailed killing 8 people, injuring 200 including 11 of them critically. The  accident could have been prevented if the train was equipped with up to date technology such as “positive train control” that automatically limits the speed of the train or if the track were equipped with “Automatic Train Control” however like many other rail systems in the US,  the Northeast Corridor railway system is outdated and its infrastructure is crumbling.  As a result, trains are often delayed and passengers safety questionable.

15-year long modernization plan

To address these issues, the Northeast Corridor Commission was created in 2010 after approval by the Congress in 2008 with the mission to develop an implement a modernization program for the Northeast Corridor. Yesterday, this Commission released a 15-year plan including 150 projects to improve the  conditions of the actual system. The plan entitled “CONNECT 2035” includes  among the multiple projects a 5 year renovation project of  the Portal North bridge over the Hackensack River, repairing the North River tunnel, build 4 new stations in the Bronx.

Published on:

Did you know that 95% of fatal train accidents were caused by vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians on tracks? Every 3 hours in the US someone is hit by a train. Most of these accidents are preventable.

According to preliminary Federal Rail Road Administration Statistics, 262 people died and 871 were injured in 2,296 collisions with trains in 2018 in the US. 2,217 collisions occurred at highway-rail grade crossings. Pedestrian rail trespassing resulted in 1015 causalities (fatalities and injuries).  California and Texas have the most accidents  for both highway-rail grade crossings and trespassing.  New York ranked number 4 of  all states with the most pedestrian trespassing causalities. 36 people died and 13 were injured while trespassing on New York railroads in 2018.

Tips for New York Pedestrians to stay safe near railroads

Published on:

location-of-the-accidentThankfully nobody was injured in a train accident during which a Port Jervis Metro North train sliced through a tractor trailer stuck on the railroad tracks in Sloatsburg, NY, on Tuesday night.

The accident occurred around 6:15 pm. An overweight tractor trailer truck transporting a cargo of  HP laser printers and illegally driving on a roadway got stuck on the railroad tracks at the grade crossing of Washington Avenue in Sloatsburg. Two witnesses in their car saw the truck driver in trouble and stopped to help him. They tried to convince him to get out of the truck cabin but the driver stayed in the cabin. One of them told the media that the driver seemed frozen. As they were talking to the truck driver the gates started to move down. One of the witness explained that he decided not to force the driver out as the cabin of the truck was not on the tracks and he thought he would be safe where he was.

The train was coming out of a curve after stopping at the Sloatsburg station. The train operator didn’t see the truck from far enough to brake on time and the train just sliced through the trailer. One of the witnesses captured the accident on camera. (see Youtube video below)

Published on:

LIRR train Accident NY3 people died and 7 were injured after a vehicle collided with two trains travelling in opposite directionsa in Long Island, NY.

The train accident occurred Tuesday night during rush hour at a railroad crossing near the Long Island Rail Road Westbury Station in Nassau County, NY. As the gates were down and the lights were flashing, the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident was witnessed driving around the gates to cross the railroad tracks. As he was in the middle of the railroad crossing, the vehicle was struck by a train that had just left the Westbury station and was heading East. The vehicle was then hit a second time by another train arriving at full speed in the opposite direction. The impact caused the two first cars of the westbound train to derail while the last car of the eastbound train struck a platform and partially destroyed it. The 3 occupants of the vehicle all died in the accident. So far the vehicle was so mangled that it was difficult to identify who were the victims and what type of vehicle it was. After further investigation the police found that the victims were 3 workers of a grocery store located a block away from the crossing: dairy manager Jesus Hernandez, and meat department workers Saul Martinez and Miguel Luna. According to a witness the men travelling in a maroon SUV might have been involved in a fender bender moments earlier and were trying to  flee the scene of the accident.

7 other people who were travelling on the westbound train were also injured. They were transported to the hospital to be treated for non fatal injuries. Around 1000 people had to be evacuated from both trains and heavy delays were expected as crews had to work on two train derailments and assess damages to the tracks and to the platform.

Published on:

LIRR TrainPositive Train Control (PTC) could have prevented the Metro-North derailment that killed 4 people in the Bronx in December 2013 as well as several other fatal train accidents that occurred in recent years.

In 2008 after 25 people were killed in a crash between a commuter train and a freight train, the U.S. Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was passed requiring that all railroads have PTC in place and employees trained to use it by December 31st 2018.  PTC requires that radio transponders be installed on tracks and on trains. The transponders communicate to each others and automatically slow down a train if it is going to fast or stop it if it is about to hit another train.

According to a recent federal report, two-thirds of the commuter railroads in the US might miss the deadline. The Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road are among them. Therefore to avoid a fine, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is considering submitting a letter to The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)asking the agency to lower its standards while deciding if the progress made by the LIRR and the Metro-North in installing PTC meet federal requirements. The letter proposal follows the recent introduction by the FRA to allow railroads to propose their own criteria for becoming compliant. The proposal also comes after the MTA acknowledged that the PTC system installed so far failed in several test simulations.

Published on:

LIRR_TrainA woman died after her car that crashed onto the Long Island Rails Road tracks was hit by a train. The high winds may have pushed the car onto the tracks according to the preliminary investigation.

29 year old Elizabeth Gallager lost control of her car near the Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Rail Road in East Northport. She crashed down an embankment onto the tracks. A train plowed into the car around 2:10 am. The service was suspended for 5 hours. Investigators are not sure if the young woman died when the car hit the tracks or after the train hit the car.

Gallager who is a teacher had a second job at a restaurant. She was driving home in a powerful storm that pummeled Tri-State Area when the accident occured. She’s among the 9 victims who died in the NorthEast Winter storm.

Published on:

New-Jersey-Transit-trainThe 300,000 passengers who daily ride the NJ transit have reasons to worry about their safety. Last year federal inspectors scrutinized the New Jersey System and their findings are alarming. Just on train floors or passageway, inspectors found 140 hazards such as unlocked high voltage electrical panels with some of them containing paper tickets or touching bare wires. According to Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for the NJ Transit, the panels have been cleaned of the paper and locked reducing risks of fires for passengers.

Old, neglected and hazardous trains

Fire hazard is not the only hazard NJ Transit commuters are facing. During his two terms, the previous New Jersey Governor , Chris Christie, cut the NJ annual budget by 90%. Obviously what was left was barely enough to cover day to day expenses and the train system suffered badly. The fleet includes 50 year-old locomotives and passenger cars that were built in the 80ies and 90ies. Engines are old and neglected. Inspectors found locomotives were not in condition to operate with complete air-brake reservoir failure and misaligned foundation gears compromising the braking system. On another locomotive inspectors found that the system allowing traction on slippery tracks was broken.  In the accident that killed a woman on the Hoboken terminal, inspectors found out that the event recorders was broken on the lead locomotive. Several locomotives  were in use despite not having been inspected. Missing electrical grounding was common and suspension problems were found on a multitude of engines. Additionally  an employee was found playing with his cell phone while parking trains and forgetting to apply breaks.

Published on:

Positive Train Control can prevent accidentsIf Positive Train Control (PTC) was functioning, the recent fatal train accident between a New York –  Miami Amtrack and CSX freight train in South Carolina wouldn’t have occurred. PTC uses satellite technology and track sensors to determine the location of a train and to find out if there is a speed restriction or an obstruction ahead.

Unfortunately  wayside signals had been turned off for maintenance and were inoperative in the area of the accident . If they had been working PTC would have automatically slowed down the train and the accident may have been prevented.

PTC would have also prevented the derailment of the Amtrack train in Dupont, Washington last December. In the December accident, the train enginer failed to slow down before a curve causing the train to derail. This type of accident would not happen anymore if PTC was installed and functioning on all national railroads.

Published on:

New York Train Accident Lawyer Richard SteigmanOur partner Richard Steigman recently told the Lohud that he was disappointed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conclusions on the train accident that occurred more than two years ago in Valhalla, NY. 6 people were killed and many more were injured after a Metro-North Train crashed into a SUV that was stuck on the tracks. The NTSB blamed Ellen Brody, the driver of the SUV, for the accident. Steigman who represents several victims of the crash, was attending a recent conference related to discovery in Westchester County Court. During the short conference, plaintiffs argued that Metro-North was withholding relevant information.

Steigman told the Lohud “he was disappointed in the NTSB for not taking into account the actions of train engineer Stephen Smalls. Smalls, who has his own lawsuit, could have stopped or slowed the train down when he saw Brody’s car on the tracks.” “There’s another narrative here,” he said. “At the end of the day, it will go before a trier of fact, for a jury to determine (who was at fault).”

NY train accident attorney Richard Steigman represents:

Published on:

640px-Penn_Station_NYC_main_entranceThis morning a train derailed in New York City causing morning commute delays. This accident occurred early this morning at Penn Station as thousands were on their way to work.  Thankfully nobody was injured as there were no passengers on the train. The conductor and the motorman were the only ones on board. They didn’t sustain any injury. The train was a New Jersey Transit Train. It had just pulled up from the Yard when the accident occurred.  The train cars blocked several tracks before being lifted back to their track causing delays. Since the month of May 4 trains derailed in Penn Station. Penn Station is considered the busiest train hub in America. This summer the tracks are undergoing a massive 8 week project to replace aging tracks and signals. Commuters nicknamed the project “summer of hell” but most of them are tolerated as long as the project continues. This morning there was also a small fire in a train tunnel between Queens and Grand Central Station that forced commuters to find alternate ways to get to work.