A tragic accident on Metro-North left four dead and dozens injured after the train derailed on December 1, 2013. CNN reported the train was equipped with safety equipment, although it is unclear if these devices were activated at the time of the crash. Those who suffered catastrophic injuries in the accident argue that it could have been avoided with implementation of additional safety equipment, namely computers and other devices to monitor trains, devices that are designed to reduce the risk of collisions.
Tom Prendergast, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is voicing concerns that pushing forward with new technologies like these could jeopardize the safety of the metro's passengers. Critics argue the equipment is designed to increase the safety of the trains, while the chairman counters that the tools could result in a false sense of security.
Regardless of the debate, this accident and others are causing passengers to wonder just how safe these trains are. Although this mode of transportation is relatively safe, particularly when compared to driving a passenger vehicle, those who are injured may be able to hold the responsible party liable for the costs associated with treatment and rehabilitation.
Train accidents and liability
Trains, buses and subways fall under a category referred to in the legal world as common carriers. Common carriers are businesses that transport people in exchange for a fee. In order to operate, these businesses must follow an array of regulations and owe their passengers a high duty of care. Essentially, the businesses must ensure they operate in a safe manner to help ensure their passengers arrive at their destinations safely.
Generally, an injured party must establish that he or she was a passenger on the train, bus or subway car and that the business breached its duty to operate safely. The victim must next prove that the failure to operate safely led to the injury.
Making a case can be difficult as it may involve the need for testimony from both experts in the field to explain how the common carrier failed to operate safely as well as witnesses that were on the scene when the accident happened or observed the unsafe act. As a result, those who are injured in these accidents are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced New York catastrophic personal injury attorney to discuss their case and better ensure their legal rights and any potential remedies are protected.
SOURCE: Caesar & Napoli