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Long Island Train Accident Lawyer

In 16 years, from 2005 to 2021, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration reported an average of 1,475 train derailments per year, so we can say that these accidents are pretty common in the U.S. 

It has been found that even with the high number of derailments, they do not cause significant disasters. The odds are still there if you are involved and injured in a train accident; you may need specialized help to compensate for your damages. A Long Island train accident attorney at The Ward Law Group, with expertise, can help you in such a case. In the following paragraphs, you will learn what you must know about train accidents on Long Island, causes, consequences, liable parties, and, most importantly, how you can be compensated for injuries sustained. 

Train Accidents on Long Island

It is worth mentioning that New York as a State is interconnected by other train lines leading to cities such as Long Island. The following characteristics are part of the train alternatives that operate in this particular city:

  • Commuter Rail Service: The LIRR is one of the busiest commuter railroads in North America. It provides transportation services to Long Island residents and connects them to Manhattan.
    • Network and Routes: The LIRR operates on a network of over 700 miles of track, serving both Nassau and Suffolk counties. It connects to various branches and stations across Long Island.
      • Connection to New York City: The primary purpose of the LIRR is to connect Long Island residents to New York City. Trains run from various points on Long Island, converging at major transportation hubs such as Penn Station in Manhattan.
        • Train Services: The LIRR offers different services, including local and express trains. Local trains make stops at multiple stations, while express trains provide faster service with fewer stops.
          • Schedule and Frequency: The LIRR operates on a schedule, with trains running regularly throughout the day. Schedules vary by day and time, accommodating both commuter and leisure travel.
            • Commuter Convenience: Many Long Island residents rely on the LIRR for their daily commute to work in New York City. The railroad is crucial in easing traffic congestion and providing efficient transportation.
              • Expansion and Development: Efforts have been made to expand and enhance the LIRR service, with projects aimed at improving infrastructure, adding tracks, and upgrading stations.
                • Ticketing and Fares: Passengers can purchase tickets at stations, online, or through mobile apps. Fares are typically based on the distance traveled and the type of service.
                  • Weekend and Leisure Travel: Besides serving commuters, the LIRR is used by residents and visitors for leisure travel, especially on weekends. It provides a convenient way to explore Long Island's attractions.
                    • Impact on Long Island Communities: The LIRR significantly impacts Long Island's economic and social life. It facilitates work, school, and recreational transportation, contributing to the region's connectivity.

                      Common Causes of Train Accidents on Long Island

                      Although the necessary measures are taken and the New York authorities show goodwill regarding the proper maintenance of trains, accidents sometimes happen. In some cases, they could have been avoided, and in others, Murphy's Law operates: " If it is possible for something to go wrong, it will go wrong."

                      Our experts have witnessed different scenarios over the last few years, from catastrophic episodes linked to weather conditions to human error caused by ingesting substances that made it impossible for a train driver to drive a train properly.

                      Let's review together some frequent scenarios when analyzing train accidents in cities like New York and, in particular, on Long Island:

                      • Human Error: Train accidents on Long Island can often be attributed to human errors, including mistakes made by train operators, engineers, or other staff responsible for railway operations.
                      • Signal Failures: Malfunctions in signals and communication systems can lead to confusion and contribute to accidents. Issues with signaling equipment may result in trains receiving incorrect information about track conditions.
                      • Track Defects: Poorly maintained tracks, including issues with alignment, stability, or defects, can increase the risk of accidents. Regular inspection and maintenance are crucial to prevent such incidents.
                      • Mechanical Failures: Mechanical failures in train components, such as brakes or propulsion systems, can lead to accidents. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are essential to ensure the proper functioning of train equipment.
                      • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or fog, can impact visibility and affect the condition of tracks. Trains need to adapt to changing weather to prevent accidents.
                      • Poor Visibility: Lack of proper visibility, whether due to weather conditions, obstructions, or inadequate lighting, can contribute to accidents, especially during nighttime operations.
                      • Failure to Obey Signals: Disregarding signals and safety instructions, either by train operators or pedestrians at railway crossings, is a common cause of accidents. Education and enforcement are crucial to address this issue.
                      • Derailments: Train derailments, resulting from issues like track misalignment, excessive speed, or mechanical failure, can lead to serious accidents and pose a risk to passengers and crew.
                      • Human Fatigue: Fatigue among train operators and staff can impair judgment and reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Proper scheduling and rest periods are essential to mitigate this risk.
                      • Vehicle Incursions: Accidents can occur when vehicles, intentionally or accidentally, enter railway crossings without clearance. Adequate safety measures and public awareness campaigns can help prevent such incidents.
                      • Trespassing: Trespassing on railway tracks, often by pedestrians seeking shortcuts, can result in accidents. Fencing, signage, and community outreach are measures to discourage trespassing.
                      • Maintenance Delays: Delays or lapses in scheduled maintenance of trains and railway infrastructure can contribute to accidents. Strict adherence to maintenance schedules is critical for ensuring safe operations.

                      Recent Statistics on LIRR Accidents

                      Based on New York City Transit—The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there have been fewer incidents involving LIRR trains overall since 2017. As per the latest available data, in 2021, the LIRR recorded 517 incidents along with eight fatalities.

                      • In 2021, the LIRR did not record any incidents involving train accidents or crossing injuries involving passengers. Still, during the past four years, the number of workers injured while on the job has increased.
                      • Long Island accounted for more than half of all 2021 LIRR incidents. Eight incidents occurred at railroad crossings, and six train accidents occurred in Nassau and Suffolk counties. On the Island, seven of the eight fatalities also occurred.
                      • 66 derailments and 101 other train accidents have occurred in New York since 2018. Human error was the primary cause of most train accidents in the state, followed by equipment malfunctions and track problems. Over the previous five years, derailments have cost railroads almost $8.2 million.
                      • The number of railway accidents has steadily increased between 2008 and the present. There were 1,076 reported accidents in 2008, and 1,389 reported accidents in 2014. As of the end of April 2015, there had been 428 rail accidents in New York.

                      As we can see, there is always a percentage of events related to train accidents that, in spite of taking preventive measures or trying to implement safety systems in New York to minimize these events, occur for various reasons and are included in these statistics.

                      However, at The Ward Law Group, we are optimistic that by doing preventive work, we can positively impact these figures and help reverse the adverse effects of train accidents on Long Island.

                      If you have been a victim of any of these events, whether due to the negligence of a third party or the negligence of a State authority, contact us so that we can evaluate your case and provide you with a legal and human perspective on what we can foresee to resolve the situation you are facing.

                      We are your best allies when facing situations that require prudent and effective decision-making. We are backed by 30 years of experience in the study of law, as well as a couple of decades assisting the Spanish-speaking community in their native language and ensuring that in every community where we practice law, there is equal access to the law for everyone.

                      Preventing Train Accidents

                      As believers in prevention in the face of all types of catastrophes, we also believe it is essential to emphasize the measures that are most within our reach. To help our readers identify the most viable ways out if they encounter such a situation. Have you considered what you would do if trapped on a New York City subway? You may have nerves, fear, aggression, or any mixed feelings accompanying it.

                      Emotions often come out quickly in difficult situations. However, as experienced lawyers, we always invoke rationality when making decisions and are aware of all our emotions.

                      Some of the prevention and security measures that you have at your disposal are the following:

                      • Advanced Signaling Systems: Implementing advanced signaling systems, including automated warning signals and communication systems, helps enhance the safety of train operations by reducing the risk of human error.
                      • Regular Track Maintenance: Scheduled and proactive maintenance of railway tracks ensures they are in optimal condition, minimizing the risk of accidents caused by track defects, misalignment, or instability.
                      • Employee Training Programs: Comprehensive training programs for train operators, conductors, and maintenance staff are vital in promoting safety awareness, reducing human errors, and ensuring a quick response to emergencies.
                      • Public Awareness Campaigns: Engaging the public through awareness campaigns about railway safety, emphasizing the dangers of trespassing, and promoting responsible behavior at railway crossings contribute to accident prevention.
                      • Crossing Upgrades and Safety Features: Upgrading railway crossings with safety features such as barriers, warning lights, and audible signals enhances visibility and helps prevent vehicle and pedestrian accidents.
                      • Technology for Speed Regulation: Implementing technology to regulate train speeds, especially in high-risk areas or during adverse weather conditions, is critical for preventing accidents related to excessive speed.
                      • Surveillance and Monitoring Systems: Utilizing surveillance cameras and monitoring systems along railway tracks provides real-time insights into potential risks, enabling prompt responses to emerging safety concerns.
                      • Emergency Response Preparedness: Developing and regularly practicing emergency response protocols ensures that railway staff are well-prepared to handle accidents swiftly, minimizing the impact on passengers and the surrounding community.
                      • Community Engagement Programs: Building partnerships with local communities fosters a sense of shared responsibility for railway safety. Community engagement programs can involve residents in reporting hazards and promoting safe practices.
                      • Regular Equipment Inspections: Implementing a rigorous schedule of inspections for trains and associated equipment ensures that mechanical failures are detected and addressed promptly, reducing the risk of accidents.
                      • Fencing and Trespass Prevention: Installing secure fencing along railway tracks and implementing measures to deter trespassing help prevent accidents caused by unauthorized individuals entering railway property.
                      • Collaboration with Regulatory Bodies: Collaborating with regulatory authorities to stay abreast of safety standards and implementing recommended best practices ensures that Long Island Rail complies with industry regulations.

                      We must work together to build the train system that a peaceful and inclusive community deserves. Little by little, we will all learn from these types of accidental events to build foolproof procedures. We at The Ward Law Group stand in solidarity with all accident victims in New York, Florida, across the country, and around the world.

                      Contact a Long Island Train Accident Attorney

                      The Ward Law Group, with over 25 years of experience in personal injury lawsuits, has a group of experienced and respected train accident attorneys ready to help you through those difficult moments. They focus on delivering high-level service to clients and bringing justice to them and their families.

                      If you have been involved in a train accident on Long Island, do not hesitate to call The Ward Law Group at 855-DOLOR-55 for a consultation free of charge, where a specialist will answer all your questions and guide you through the process.