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New York Train Accidents

In 16 years, from 2005 to 2021, The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration has 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 New York train accident attorney with expertise can help you in such a case. In the following paragraphs, you will learn what you must know about train accidents in New York, causes, consequences, liable parties, and, most importantly, how you can be compensated for injuries sustained. 

Causes of Train Accidents

Train accidents can have various reasons, sometimes due to a combination of events. Some common causes of train accidents are the following:

Human Error

Train accidents can occur due to various human errors. These may include train operators failing to adhere to speed limits, disregarding signals, or operating trains while tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Maintenance crews may also make mistakes during inspections or repairs, leading to equipment failures or track issues.

Mistakes in train scheduling, dispatching, or communication can contribute to accidents. Miscommunication between train operators, signaling personnel, or dispatchers can result in two trains being directed onto the same track or receiving conflicting signals. Inadequate oversight or lack of coordination between different parties involved in train operations can lead to collisions or other incidents.

Equipment Failure

Mechanical failures in train components can be a significant cause of accidents. Brake failures can result in trains being unable to stop in time, while wheel or axle defects can lead to derailments. Issues with locomotive engines or electrical systems can also contribute to accidents. Malfunctioning signaling or communication systems can cause miscommunication or inadequate warnings, increasing the risk of collisions.

Track Problems

Railway tracks are critical for safe train operations, but defects or issues can lead to accidents. Broken or worn-out rails can cause derailments, while misaligned tracks can increase the risk of train components striking each other. Poor maintenance practices, such as insufficient inspections or delayed repairs, can exacerbate track problems. Natural disasters like landslides, earthquakes, or flooding can also damage tracks, posing a risk to train operations.

Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions can impact train operations and increase the likelihood of accidents. Heavy rain, snow, or ice can reduce traction and make tracks slippery. Dense fog can impair visibility for both train operators and signals. Flooding can damage tracks or cause washouts, rendering them unsafe for train passage.

Collisions with Other Trains or Vehicles

Accidents can occur when trains collide with other trains, vehicles, or pedestrians at railway crossings. Failure to adhere to traffic rules by the train or the other car can result in a collision. Inadequate warning systems at railway crossings, such as malfunctioning gates or warning lights, can contribute to these accidents.

Sabotage or Vandalism

Although relatively rare, intentional sabotage or vandalism can cause train accidents. Saboteurs may tamper with tracks, signaling systems, or train equipment, leading to derailments or collisions. Destruction can involve damaging essential components, hindering safe train operations.

Improper Loading or Cargo Shifting

Accidents can occur if the cargo on a train is improperly loaded or secured. If the weight distribution is incorrect or cargo is not adequately restrained, imbalances can lead to derailments or accidents. This is particularly relevant for freight trains carrying hazardous materials, as an incident can result in spills or explosions, endangering lives and the environment.

Infrastructure Issues

Problems with railway infrastructure can contribute to accidents. Aging bridges or tunnels may have structural deficiencies that compromise their integrity. Inadequate maintenance of station platforms can pose safety risks to passengers embarking or disembarking from trains. Failures in infrastructure components can disrupt train operations and jeopardize safety.

Objects On the Tracks

Objects on the tracks can be a significant cause of train accidents. Be a substantial cause of train accidents. Objects such as tree branches, rocks, construction materials, or fallen equipment can find their way onto the tracks. When a train encounters these obstacles, they can cause derailments or collisions, especially if the train hits them at high speeds.

Injuries from Train Accidents

Serious injuries can be sustained during train accidents; depending on the severity of the crash, people are often hurt in one or more of the following injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Broken bones
  • Neck soft tissue injuries (Whiplash)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Lacerations, bruises 
  • Dismemberments 
  • Burns
  • Wrongful death

Transit options that have accidents in NYC

Amtrak Accidents

Amtrak is a passenger rail service that operates throughout the United States, including New York City. While accidents involving Amtrak trains are relatively rare, they can occur due to various factors such as human error, equipment failures, or track problems. Amtrak trains primarily operate on intercity routes, including the busy Northeast Corridor, which passes through New York City.

The most recent accident on this service was a couple of years ago, on September 25, 2021, when a human error from the engineer did not see the track misalignment before traveling over a portion of the track in northern Montana while en route from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, Oregon. 

When its emergency brakes were activated, the train was traveling just below the speed limit of 79 mph (127 kph). Three people died in this unfortunate incident. 

NJ Transit Accidents

NJ Transit primarily provides commuter rail and bus services within New Jersey. However, many of its rail lines extend into New York City, mainly to Penn Station. N.J. Transit has experienced accidents, including collisions, derailments, and incidents at railway crossings. The causes of these accidents can range from signal failures and human error to infrastructure issues.

People may remember a crash of the N.J. Transit commuter train that derailed at Hoboken Terminal in Hoboken, New Jersey, on September 29, 2016. The incident happened at one of the biggest transportation hubs in the New York metropolitan area during the morning rush hour. One hundred fourteen people were hurt, and one victim passed away. One of the injured was the train driver, who was in the cab car.

MTA Accidents

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is the largest transit agency in New York City, responsible for operating the subway, buses, and commuter rail services. While the subway system is predominantly known for service disruptions and delays, accidents on the subway are relatively rare. However, incidents like train derailments, track fires, or collisions with pedestrians can occur, albeit infrequently.

LIRR Accidents

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is a commuter rail system that primarily serves the eastern suburbs of New York City, including Long Island. As part of the MTA, LIRR has experienced accidents, such as derailments or collisions. The causes of these accidents can be attributed to factors like human error, equipment failures, or track issues.

The most recent crash that The Long Island Rail Road reported was back on February 26, 2019, when a truck with three people inside got in the middle of the train tracks, killing them instantly. 

Metro-North Accidents

Metro-North is another commuter rail service operated by the MTA. It provides transportation for commuters in the northern suburbs of New York City, including parts of New York State and Connecticut. Like LIRR, Metro-North has had incidents and accidents, including derailments, collisions, and other operational issues. Factors contributing to these accidents can include human error, equipment malfunctions, or track problems.

The news of February 14, 2023, informed about a Metro-North train that came to a crashing halt after it ran off the end of the track and derailed in Connecticut. It struck the bumping block, and that caused the rear part of this car to derail. The reasons for the crash are still under investigation.

Who’s Liable For My Injuries After Train Accident?

It is essential to know the facts and circumstances of each case; there can be just one or multiple liable parties. After a train crash, a subsequent investigation could take months to determine the liability of the involved. A train accident attorney in New York can help you with all the matters of the claim. After that incident, you may want to take a break and rest to heal your wounds, so you must count on a reliable legal professional.

Contact an NYC 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 in New York, 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.