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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_Train33 people suffered personal injury in a train crash in Long Island, NY on Saturday night. A Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train carrying 600 passengers sideswiped a maintenance train and derailed just East of the New Hide Park station in Nassau County. The accident occurred around 9:00 pm. The Huntington Bound passenger train was coming from New York City. After the crash, scared passengers were trapped in the dark for up to an hour until they could be rescued. Among the people injured, 27 were passengers and 7 were workers. The New York Times reported 4 serious injuries.

In a press conference, NY Governor Cuomo told reporters that the accident could have been worse. He also said that the maintenance train violated clearance and intruded into the space of the commuter train. The passenger train sideswiped the maintenance train causing some cars to derail. Yellow paint from the maintenance train was found on the passenger train where the side swipe occurred.

Further investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board  will determine why the maintenance train violated clearance. Regulations related to operation of work equipment are different than regulations related to operation of passenger trains. According to Union sources the maintenance train was operated by a non union LIRR employee.

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OImage result for hoboken train terminalne person died and around 100 were injured in a train crash in Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City. The train entered the terminal at high speed, crashed into the barriers and jumped onto the platform. The accident occurred yesterday morning during rush hour. Thousands of commuters were crowding the station. The impact was so strong that the concourse inside the terminal was torn apart. The ceiling fell onto the locomotive.

34 year old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon had just dropped her 18 month old child at a day care center and was waiting at the terminal to catch a train. During the accident, she was fatally hit by debris. A little more than 100 people were also injured by flying debris. More than 70 of them had to be transported to the hospital to be treated.  The young woman who was killed was a Brazilian lawyer. She had just moved to the United States a year ago to be with her husband, a businessman who had recently been relocated to New York by his company. De Kroon’s husband, Dann,  was in Pennsylvania for his work when the accident happened. He rushed back to the city to pick up his daughter at the day care center. He was clearly distraught. He asked the owner of the center  “How do you tell an 18-month-old that her mother is gone?”

The terminal was closed to the public Today as federal investors are inspecting the site of the train accident. The National Transportation Safety Board is turning its attention to the train engineere, Thomas Gallager, to better understand what he was doing during the crash.  Gallager who was rescued from his crumbled cabin, is fully cooperating. Gallager has been a train engineer for 29 years. According to his neighbor, Gallager wanted to be a train engineer since he was a kid and was enthusiastic about how much he loved his job.

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NYC transit servicesSubway accidents and bus accidents in NYC are difficult to avoid.  As millions of people are using the subways and buses in NYC every year, accidents happen. People are getting hurt, sometimes badly. Sometimes they die. Some accidents are caused by the negligence of the MTA New York City Transit. Over the last 5 years, the agency settled or adjudicated 4,592 negligence cases for a total of $431 million.  88 cases were settled for more than $1 million. A case was settled last year for $9 million. The victim was 19 year old Ali Muir, a pre-med student. Muir tripped in a hole on a subway platform. He fell on the tracks and was hit by a subway.Both of Muir’s  legs were amputated from the knees.  It took 6 years for his case to settle. Many NYC subway platforms have unfixed hazards that can cause dangerous slip and falls.

Any personal injury lawyer in the city knows that NYC transit cases are not easy cases. 49 tort attorneys are working full time for the agency, aggressively fighting every case. The agency is taking the time it needs to fight cases  because it only has to pay a 3% post judgment interest rate. Other agencies and litigants have to pay a   9% post  judgment interest rate on the money awarded at trial to victims. The 3% interest rate is an incentive for the NYC transit to take the time it needs post judgment to take lengthy Appeals of adverse judgments in cases.

Cases take so long to be settled that sometimes victims have to borrow money to pay for their medical bills or for their living. This  happened to 36 year old Pilar Ortiz. She suffered serious leg injuries after being struck by a MTA Bus while riding her bicycle. Ortiz had to undergo 20- surgeries to save her legs.  She was represented by two of our attorneys: Ben Rubinowitz and Peter Saghir. Rubinowitz and Saghir successfully fought the NYC transit agency who was blaming the victim for the accident. The case went to trial. Rubinowitz and Saghir were able to prove to the jury that MTA investigators were lying. Ortiz won the case after a 6 year battle.

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20 people died and dozens suffered personal injury  after two trains collided  head-on on a single track. The accident took place in Corato, near Bari  in Italy. The two trains that collided belong to a local private rail company, Ferrotramviaria SpA. The company operates around 20 electrical trains in the region. It connects Bari, the capital of Puglia with regional towns to the north and the airport, operating about 20 small electric trains. It serves mostly students and commuters.

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MTA_Metro_North_6710_on_New_Jersey_Transit_train_1728After several train accidents occurred in the New York area over the last several years, Metro North has been taking measures to improve safety and remedy disciplinary issues among the staff. Yesterday the NY Post announced that several employees who were accused of cheating on safety tests have been suspended.  These suspensions are the result of an investigation that was launched approximately two years ago after allegations of widespread cheating on safety exams. Last year 13 Metro North employees were arrested and charged after investigators discovered that workers obtained questions and answers from 8 safety exams over 3 years.

Picture: courtesy of Wikipedia

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Metro North Fire AccidentInvestigators found that the massive fire that erupted below the Metro North train tracks in New York last Tuesday was caused by illegally stored gardening chemicals at the The Urban Garden Center. The store located on E. 116th had its storage area between E.117th and E.118th Streets just below the Metro North train tracks. Despite storing large quantities of propane, fertilizers, firewood, soil and other gardening chemicals, the store owners never bothered to  asked authorities for a permit to store flammable material in this location. According to DNA Info if they would have done so the permit would have been denied.  The fire accident happened after employees at the Urban Garden Store Center spilled fuel on a hot generator while they were refueling it. Employees didn’t wait for the generator to cool down before refilling it. They sparked a fire that quickly turned into a massive blaze when it spread to the the flammable chemicals sitting nearby in the the storage area. According to the Gothamist there were at least 20 tanks of propane stored there illegally. The Metro North train services were interrupted until yesterday. Thankfully nobody was injured in this accident. Picture: courtesy of Ben Parkin on Twitter

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grade crossingA Metro North train crashed into a car in Bedford Hills NY last Wednesday.  The driver of the car was crossing the Green Lane railroad crossing when the car stalled. As the crossing gate started to go down she immediately realized what would happen next. She and her passenger quickly escaped from the car before it got hit by the train.  Thankfully nobody was injured in the crash. The service on the line was disrupted for thousands of passengers. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who has been campaigning for the Federal Government and the MTA to improve grade crossings reiterate its call for better safety measures. Read more in the Lohud

Picture: an example of grade crossing courtesy of Wikipedia


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Two people died and dozen others were injured in an Amtrak train accident that happened between New York and Philadelphia  in the NorthEast Corridor yesterday morning. Train 89, also known as the Palmetto, struck a backhoe, killing the operator of the backhoe and an Amtrak supervisor.  The train had left New York for Savanah, GA around 6:00 am and was near Philadelphia when the accident happened.  None of the passengers died but more than 30 of them were transported to the hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived yesterday at the site of the accident. They started to investigate the reasons why a maintenance crew was working on an active track. In a statement New York Senator Chuck Schumer indicated that it was highly possible that human error was the cause of the accident. He said that the Amtrak’s chairman, Mr Anthony Cosica told him that Amtrak employees have to follow a rigorous 20 step procedure to obtain clearance to place equipment on the track. Schumer added that a possible breakdown in communications between the train dispatchers and the maintenance crew may have been at the origin of the crash.

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Kew_GardensA commuter was killed after being dragged by a New York City Subway. The accident happened yesterday night at the Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens in Queens, NYC around 6:45 pm. The man was boarding the southbound F train when he got caught between the doors. The train then took off, dragging the man along the platform.  He was transported to the hospital where he later died. The New York Post reported the man may have been intoxicated. The police are investigating.

Door holding is something that New York Subway riders are practicing everyday but in this case a part of the man’s clothes apparently got caught in the closed doors and the engineer may have in fact received a signal that the doors were closed.

Picture: the subway station where the accident happened, source Wikipedia




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train accident fireAlmost a year ago 6 people died and 15 others were injured (including seven severely)  in a Metro-North train accident  between the Valhalla and Mount Pleasant stations in New York.  The Valhalla railroad accident that happened on the evening of February 3rd 2015 was the deadliest in Metro-North history.

Ellen Brody, a mother of three was driving her SUV through the Commerce Street rail crossing in Valhalla. The vehicle got stuck inside the crossing gate when it descended. The approaching Metro-North train engineer spotted her too late and crashed into her vehicle. She was killed in the accident along with 5 other train passengers who were sitting in the lead car of the train. An alleged defective third rail became dislodged and entered the first car of the train. Investigators believe the fuel from the car combined with the sparks of the dislodged third rail ignited the fire that ravaged car 4333 (see picture from the National Transportation Safety Board Investigation on the left).

Our partner, NY train accident attorney Howard Hershenhorn is representing the wife of one of the victims. Last week he filed a negligence lawsuit against Metro-North and its engineer Steven Smalls Jr. as well as the town of Mount Pleasant. The lawsuit lists multiple reasons for the defendants alleged negligence. Among them: