LIRR train derailments and accidents are uncommon, but when they do happen, they can cause catastrophic damage and injuries. If you suffered an injury due to an LIRR train derailment, you might be eligible to collect compensation from the liable parties.
However, before you can seek compensation, an investigation must determine the cause of the accident and the liable parties. The investigation will look into the following:
What caused the accident?
To figure out who could be liable, you must first figure out who and what caused the accident. The Long Island Rail Road Company (LIRR) service is just one of the many transit companies going in and out of New York. Hundreds of LIRR employees take your safety into their hands every day; any error on their part could cause a catastrophic accident.
Common causes of train accidents and derailments include:
- Train operator negligence (intoxicated, distracted, or fatigued drivers at the controls)
- Improper track maintenance (e.g., broken rails, debris left on track, etc.)
- Mechanical failure
- Collision with another train
- Defective parts
Once you discover the cause, you can determine all liable parties.
Who could be liable for my injuries?
It is unlikely that you will be filing your claim against a single negligent conductor or engineer. When the employee of a company causes an accident, the company takes on the liability.
This type of liability, known as vicarious liability, states that an employer is liable for an employee's actions if that employee is acting within the scope of his or her employment.
LIRR is the most likely liable party because it has the most areas of potential negligence that could cause a crash. LIRR employees are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the trains, so any operational or mechanical negligence falls on LIRR's shoulders.
Because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) owns and operates LIRR, you would hold it liable for any accidents and injuries caused by a LIRR employee’s negligence.
If defective or broken tracks led to the derailment, there is a more complicated question of liability. While LIRR/MTA manages many of the tracks, if the accident occurred because of negligent maintenance by another company, that separate maintenance company may be liable.
Sometimes parties completely outside of the train operations are liable for derailments. If a vehicle is stopped or there is another unavoidable obstruction on the tracks, LIRR/MTA might not be liable at all.
However, if LIRR could have avoided death or serious injury with different safety protocols or braking systems, LIRR may share liability with the third party.
How do I get help for an LIRR derailment injury claim?
The complexities of derailment accidents are matters best left to attorneys with experience dealing with LIRR accidents and liability.
The Long Island train accident lawyers at Goldstein & Bashner can help you collect the compensation you are entitled to while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Our attorneys have both personal and professional experience dealing with debilitating injuries, so you can bet that we will fight tooth and nail to get you what you need.
Give us a call at 516-874-4362 to discuss your legal options for compensation.