Early this January, a Long Island Railroad Train (LIRR) collided with Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal, causing over 100 injuries to the passengers on board, and initiating at least one lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA). Clifford Jones is seeking $5 million in damages, for “serious and severe personal injuries,” according to the lawsuit filed by his attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.
The crash occurred when the passenger train’s front car smashed into a bumper at Brooklyn’s downtown transit center, which is located beneath a shopping center. The front of the train jumped the tracks, and the people who had been standing and waiting to exit the train were thrown to the ground. The train had been moving erratically before this point, ranging in speed from 2 and 10 mph as it moved through the station, even though the speed limit was 5 mph.
Passengers riding the train commented on their experience. One passenger told a New York CBS station, “Everyone’s on the floor, smoke everywhere. I smashed my whole face into the seat in front of me…There were a lot of people bleeding, ladies crying their eyes out on the floor. We didn’t know if we were going to die.” Wendy Gerzog, 57, who was hospitalized after the crash, told reporters, ““All of a sudden it was just like boom. I was at the bottom of the pile. Everyone was screaming. It was scary.”
Soon after the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an investigation into the cause of the crash. The engineer, Michael Bakalo, says that he has no recollection of the crash, and can only remember slowing the train as he pulled into the station.
The MTA Chairman, Thomas Prendergast says that there is a system installed to control the train as it comes into the station, “But when you’re getting to the end it’s the locomotive engineer’s responsibility. And the train’s brakes have to work. All those things have to be looked at in the investigation.”
Regardless of the investigation, at least one passenger has filed a lawsuit for his injuries. Jones is suing both the MTA and the LIRR for their roles in failing to maintain a safe transit system. Jones, who works for the Department of Social Services, reportedly suffered “neck, back and knee injuries” during the crash. Jones was allegedly “violently thrown” into a seat while he was making his regular morning commute.
In the notice of claim for the lawsuit, Jones commented on his own injuries and emotional trauma, “I have neck, shoulder and knee pain … It was like a horror scene. A lot of people were crying, upset.” Rubenstein, Jones’ attorney, told a local news station that, “It’s very important for the National Transportation Safety Board to ascertain exactly what happened, so that more New Yorkers do not suffer from these transit crashes.”
Attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian will work to hold agencies accountable for their negligence in order to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call them today at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
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