We are pleased to report a record-setting settlement of $20 Million for our client who suffered horrific injuries in a 2020 accident at the 14th St. PATH Train Station in New York City. The settlement has drawn national attention to the importance of transportation safety for trains, cars, trucks, and buses. Visaya Hoffie, a 23-year-old tourist, suffered life-altering injuries after falling onto the train tracks and being struck by two consecutive trains. As a result, Ms. Hoffie underwent a below-the-knee amputation of one leg and a partial amputation of her opposite foot.
In our legal battle, we argued that the operators of both trains failed to recognize Ms. Hoffie’s presence on the tracks, ultimately leading to the severe injuries she sustained. The first operator did not notice Ms. Hoffie on the tracks, and the second operator, despite being aware of her presence, did not react in time to prevent the tragic outcome. Ms. Hoffie was left on the tracks for approximately 7 minutes before the first operator struck her and an additional 16 minutes before the second train hit her. The lawsuit also alleged that Summit Security, the security company responsible for monitoring the tracks through video surveillance, failed to promptly inform the train operators of the dangerous situation.
In response, the defense argued that Ms. Hoffie’s fall onto the tracks was a result of intoxication, claiming that she was solely responsible for the accident and her subsequent injuries. They also contended that Ms. Hoffie was not visible as she was wearing black clothing. Their assertion was quickly defeated when all parties conducted a live simulation during a complete shut-down of the PATH station using life-sized mannequins placed on the tracks. It became immediately apparent that not only could the train operators clearly see Visaya lying on the tracks, but there was ample time for each of them to stop the trains before striking her.
Following extensive litigation, the case has been settled for $20 million, with the Port Authority and Summit Security each contributing 50% to the settlement amount. Both parties denied liability. This outcome, while not an admission of liability, underscores the gravity of the incident and the need for substantial compensation for Visaya’s extensive injuries and ongoing challenges.
The successful resolution of this train accident case is a testament to the skilled representation provided by our partners Howard S. Hershenhorn and Marijo C. Adimey, and associate Richard Soldano and their trial team. Their efforts have not only secured a fair settlement for Visaya but have also highlighted the essential role of diligent legal advocacy in personal injury cases. It also underscores the critical importance of ensuring transportation safety across various modes of transit, including trains, cars, trucks, and buses. It serves as a stark reminder of the need for vigilance and adherence to safety protocols to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
Transportation safety is a vital concern that extends beyond train stations to encompass roads and highways used by cars, trucks, and buses. By prioritizing safety measures, such as effective surveillance, operator training, and adherence to regulations, we can work towards creating a safer transportation environment for all individuals. This extends to pedestrian and bike safety and to the design and maintenance of vehicles, infrastructure, and the implementation of safety technologies to mitigate risks and enhance overall transportation safety standards.
Moreover, collaboration between transportation authorities, security companies, and other relevant stakeholders is imperative to establish comprehensive safety protocols and response mechanisms. Providing clear signage, accessible information, and ensuring infrastructure is designed with safety in mind can help mitigate potential hazards and enhance the overall safety of transportation networks. By fostering cooperative efforts and sharing best practices, we can enhance overall safety standards and response capabilities in the event of unforeseen incidents. This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for continued vigilance, investment, and commitment to transportation safety to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
For Visaya Hoffie, the settlement marks a significant step in her journey to recovery and adaptation to a new way of life. It is a story of resilience in the face of adversity and a reminder of the enduring spirit of those who seek justice and accountability.