On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, two Long Island Railroad (LIRR) trains traveling in opposite directions both fatally struck a car with three passengers near Westbury station. The vehicle had entered a gated area in an attempt to cross the railroad tracks when it was first struck by an eastbound train, followed by the westbound one. Two of the westbound train’s cars subsequently derailed, causing seven passengers to suffer injuries, as well as inflicting significant damage to the station’s platform.
According to official reports, the legal fault for this incident rests with the driver for wrongfully passing through a gated area. Because of this, the LIRR cannot legally be held at fault—even if a train was traveling too fast, this would not reasonably be the main cause of an accident under these circumstances.
As a result, while the families of the deceased passengers cannot pursue LIRR for compensation, they may have a valid claim with the driver’s insurance company, as well as the opportunity to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s estate. These legal actions may also be pursued by any injured LIRR passengers.
In this case, the clear violation of road signage and laws by the deceased driver leaves them predominantly liable for the subsequent crash and its related damages. While road conditions, railroad crossings, road signs, and safety features may be crucial during accident claims, it is important for anyone seeking compensation to carefully assess each situation and determine who holds the majority of fault.
If you or someone you know was injured due to someone else’s careless behavior, you should consider your legal options and who may be at fault. The attorneys at Goldstein & Bashner could help you determine liability and work tirelessly on your behalf to file a claim for compensation.