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

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LIRR TrainThirteen people were injured after an LIRR train derailed in Queens, NYC last week. Approximately 100 people were on board an 8-car train when all the cars derailed near Jamaica Station. Thirteen passengers sustained leg and back injuries in the accident.

Although speed was not a factor, an investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the accident.

Train derailments are complex accidents that can result from a combination of factors. Some of the most common causes of derailment include:

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CSX trains can cause dangerous accidentsAs train accident attorneys, it is concerning to see the devastation that can be caused by train-related incidents. The recent brush fires in Rockland County, New York have caused widespread damage and displaced hundreds of people. Officials are pointing fingers at CSX, the railroad company whose train tracks allegedly sparked the flames, and are demanding an investigation into the matter.

According to reports, around two dozen brush fires broke out along a CSX rail line on Friday afternoon, threatening homes and consuming 50-70 acres of land. The intense flames melted the siding on four homes, destroyed two sheds and other property, including fences and vehicles. Upwards of 100 people had to evacuate. Five firefighters suffered heat exhaustion, and one sustained a minor burn.

While it is still unclear what exactly caused the fire, preliminary reports suggest that sparks from a CSX train may have started the fire, which then spread to nearby fields, including a bird sanctuary. Officials are pointing towards negligence on the part of CSX and are calling for a meeting with the railroad company.

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Our subway accident lawyer investigating a caseNYC Subway accidents are on the rise and recently more subways have been delayed because of  people  standing on the tracks. As a result the MTA recently announced that its recently created “Trespasser Task Force” is working on several pilot projects to prevent people from getting on the tracks or being pushed on them.

The main project and the most expensive one is the pilot installation of  platform barriers at 3 stations:

  1.  On the 7 line platform  in Time Square
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NYC subway can be dangerousAccording to recent records released by the MTA, 42 people died in collisions with a subway train and 5 others died after falling on the tracks or being electrified by the third rail. These numbers are very similar to those recorded during the same period a year earlier with 48 people dying in NYC subway accidents.   Among the causes of the collision, 16 of them were suicides compared to 10 for the same period of the previous year.  The report of the MTA also indicates that 8 people fell from crossing between cars compared to 6 during the same period of 2020 however they did not mention if these accidents resulted in deaths or injuries.

Should subway stations be safer and equipped with safety barriers?

These recent data from the MTA do not include several shoving incidents occurring during last  fall and winter  with the last one resulting in the death of Michelle Go.  Michelle Go was waiting for a train at the Time Square station when a deranged man pushed her  in front of the train. The recent death of Michelle Go might have been prevented if the New York subway was equipped with protective barriers or platform screen doors.

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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.

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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

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.