Aggressive Lawyers Litigate New Jersey Transit and Railway Accidents
Reliable representation for riders injured from derailments, collisions, and slip and falls
In recent years, local headlines have been filled with stories of fatal train derailments and collisions on various lines serving New Jersey and New York. Whether you ride New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, or PATH, you have to be concerned with the spate of serious crashes and the apparent failure of these services to maintain reasonable safety standards. At Brach Eichler, we share that concern. We believe that rail systems serving upwards of 70 million passengers a year have a moral obligation, as well as a legal duty, to make travel as safe as possible. When NJT or any other railway fails in its duty to protect passengers, we fight on the victims’ behalf to recover the full compensation they deserve. We have a solid track record of success advocating for clients like you; you can trust us to pursue your case with professionalism and passion to deliver the best possible results.
Common causes of rail accidents in the Northeast Corridor
The shocking 2016 crash of a New Jersey Transit train at Hoboken station that killed one person and injured 108 others brought attention to several problems festering throughout the Northeast Corridor. Front and center in that crash were the health of the train operator, who had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea but was allowed to work while severely fatigued, and the lack of an automatic speed control system on the track. Other common causes of railway accidents include:
- Signal failure
- Track fatigue and lax maintenance
- Objects, especially motor vehicles, on the tracks
Unfortunately, the Hoboken crash proved not to be a fluke. The Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak suffered very similar incidents within a short period of time, giving further support to critics demanding systemic changes.
Have railways been negligent in failing to implement positive train control?
Advanced computer technology, known as positive train control has been available for several years to make trains safer. The system allows sensors along the track to analyze data and, when necessary, assume control of a train and force it to slow down or stop. Installation of positive train control has been mandated for various rail lines including New Jersey Transit. In fact, positive train control should have been in place throughout NJT by Dec. 31, 2015, but Congress authorized a three-year extension for numerous railways including NJT.
But what happens if railways do meet the extended deadline? Would the failure to have installed positive train control be evidence of negligence? If a train experiences an accident that positive train control would have prevented, the rail line’s liability would be a virtual certainty.
Railroads are also landlords subject to premises liability laws
Railroad stations and trains are subject to premises liability laws. That means they have a duty to make their grounds reasonably safe for visitors. If you suffer a slip and fall or trip and fall accident while walking through a NJT station, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. The key elements are whether a hidden hazard caused your injury and whether the entity in charge of the station was unreasonable. The agency running the station has a duty to take reasonable care to discover hidden hazards and either warn riders or remove them. Whether the agency was reasonable depends on many factors, including whether the agency had protocols in place to deal with foreseeable problems, such as debris accumulating on steps or icy surfaces, and whether they had sufficient time to respond between the creation of the hazard and the victim’s accident.
Our attorneys are experienced slip and fall advocates. We know how to assemble the necessary evidence and build a persuasive case for your full recovery.
Special rules for suing government agencies can apply to passenger railways
Normally the statute of limitations for personal injuries in New Jersey is two years, but when you make a claim against a government agency, you must act sooner. The New Jersey Tort and Contractual Liability Act, commonly called Title 59, gives a claimant 90 days from the date of an accident to file a notice of intent to sue. By contrast, Amtrak is not a government agency, even though it was created by an act of Congress and receives federal government subsidies. These complications make it very important to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to make sure your rights are fully protected.
Contact our certified trial attorneys for your transit accident
Brach Eichler Personal Injury provides aggressive representation for victims of railway throughout New Jersey. Let us help you obtain the full personal injury compensation you deserve. Call us today at 973-364-8300 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.