Most people start out the beginning of a new year with a sense of freshness and renewal, using the first few days to plan how they will live a happier and healthier life. Sadly, however, sometimes the best laid plans are railroaded by an unexpected event. In this case, 103 people’s lives were disrupted by injuries sustained in the first major accident of 2017.
On Wednesday, January 4th, 2017, during the morning rush hour, a Long Island Railroad (LIRR) commuter train crashed.
The train, which was carrying 600 – 700 people, was traveling from Queens and had just reached Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. As was usual, many of the passengers planning to exit at that stop had stood up and were walking down the aisle, edging their way to the doors. The train, however, didn’t stop as planned.
The front of the train crashed through a bumping block, causing the first two cars to derail and sending the train up and into a room in the station. A man who was in a different part of the station grabbing a cup off coffee reported that the entire station shook from the impact and in the seconds following the accident, he started to hear screams. “I thought a bomb went off.” he said.
Passengers on the train said one moment they were preparing to leave and the next, people and objects were flying through the air. Although the majority of the passengers in the back cars were unharmed, over one hundred were transported to local hospitals for treatment.
“We’re actually fortunate we didn’t have more severe injuries.” stated a FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief.
The cause of the crash has yet to be determined but investigators have already recovered the electronic data recorder and are planning to spend several weeks at the crash site collecting evidence. They’ve also reached out to the public, asking anyone who has a video of the crash to come forward so that it can be compared the video from the station. For now, the only thing that has been confirmed is that the train was going at twice the posted speed limit of 5 m.p.h.
What Legal Rights Do The Passengers Have?
If the passengers sustained physical or emotional injuries, it is possible that they may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the party who caused their accident and the resulting injuries financially responsible for the losses that were sustained by the victims. In this case, depending on what is found during the investigation, the negligent party may be the conductor, the company who owns the train, anyone who was responsible for the maintenance of the train, or even a parts manufacturer.
When damages are awarded in personal injury complaints, the intention is to provide the plaintiff with financial compensation to cover their:
- medical bills
- lost earnings
- physical pain and suffering
- emotional trauma
What Do You Mean By Emotional Trauma?
It is very common for someone who has been involved in a serious accident, especially when they have sustained serious injuries, to develop depression, anxiety, or PTSD. These conditions can be debilitating and disrupt everyday life.
Imagine if you took the train to work every single day and then an accident of this magnitude happened. The fear alone may prevent you from being able to set foot inside of another train car, disrupting your daily routine and perhaps even keeping you from work.
How Much Could A Train Accident Case Be Worth?
The potential damages available to a plaintiff will vary widely from case to case because every victim will have sustained different losses. For example, if a victim breaks their leg, however, they are able to continue working because they sit at a desk, the losses they sustain will be very different from another person who works a construction job and is unable to work until the break is healed.