A Metro North Railroad train which was heading northbound from Grand Central struck an SUV in Valhalla, New York on Tuesday. At least six people were killed and 15 people injured after a Metro-North commuter train struck a Mercedes sport utility that was stuck on the tracks between the gates. The victims include the driver of the SUV, who was a mother of three, and five people onboard the train.
It was a fiery scene when the Harlem Line train out of Grand Central Terminal struck the SUV at the Commerce Street crossing, causing an explosion that ignited both the car and the train. The third rail pierced the first rail car and for 400 feet broke apart and piled up inside in 80-foot sections, starting the fire.
It’s too soon to say if Metro North will be found negligent, and we don’t know why the SUV got stuck on the tracks yet. Preliminary reports are saying the gates were working properly and that the conductor was within the speed limit for that section of the track, but still we have to wonder if everything was done that could have been done.
Was the train properly maintained and all equipment related to it?
Was the gate properly maintained?
Were the gate lights functioning?
Did the conductor have adequate time to slow down if he saw the jeep on the tracks?
Only time will tell the answers to these questions, unfortunately for train passengers and crew, time is not on your side if you want to file a suit for injuries or a wrongful death. If the driver of the SUV was found to be liable due to drugs, or drinking or some other avoidable impairment, than you could have a case to sue her estate and insurance company, which have a longer statue of limitation to file a claim.
Lawsuits against the MTA, NYCTA, Port Authority and other public transportation services have shorter statute of limitations and require that a notice of claim be filed within 90 days of the accident, with few exceptions. It’s unfortunate that families and individuals have to worry about protecting their legal rights when they should be focusing on healing from injuries or grieving. This is why you need a professional Railroad Injury Attorney if you have been injured in an MTA accident, including LIRR, Metro North, or Amtrak. At Goldstein and Bashner we will quickly establish whether or not you have a case and thoroughly investigate and collect the necessary information you need to get maximum compensation. This may include finding and interviewing witnesses, investigating the cause of the accident and who is at fault, documenting all injuries, and presenting all the necessary evidence needed to win the case. Contact us at 516-222-4000 for a no obligation consultation. We will answer any questions you have.