MTA Train Accident Lawyer

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, also known as the MTA, has played an extremely important role in helping New York residents and visitors travel the city via bus, subway, and railroad. Although these forms of transportation prevent damage to the environment, save customers money on gas and car insurance, and reduce traffic, they also put users at risk of serious injury, as common carrier accidents, especially those involving trains, tend to have particularly devastating consequences for passengers. Fortunately, it is possible for injured passengers, employees, and bystanders to collect damages to cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, filing a claim can be a difficult endeavor, especially for those who don’t have legal representation, as the MTA is a large and well-funded corporation that is adept at avoiding liability. For this reason, visitors to and residents of New York who are injured in an MTA accident are encouraged to speak with an MTA train accident lawyer who has the resources and experience to ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

What is the MTA?

The MTA is a public company that oversees a number of different types of public transportation in New York, namely subways, buses, and trains, in addition to bridges, railroads, and tunnels. While the MTA takes steps to keep passengers safe from harm, accidents can and do occur. Train accidents, in particular, are notorious for causing the most amount of damage, both to property and to passengers, employees, and bystanders.

What Causes MTA Accidents?

Like any other type of train accident, MTA accidents occur for a wide range of reasons, although the most common include:

  • Operator error, which is often the result of driver fatigue or distraction, or a lack of training or supervision;
  • Speeding or improper train handling;
  • Mechanical defects, which includes problems with train engines or other parts caused by defective manufacturing or design;
  • A failure to properly maintain trains, tracks, or platforms;
  • A failure to maintain equipment, such as lighting and signals; and
  • Improper security.

This type of conduct can lead to serious accidents, such as collisions between two trains, collisions between a train and a vehicle or a pedestrian, and derailments. Whatever the type of accident, the results of MTA train collisions are often severe, making it especially important for injured parties to seek compensation from those who were responsible for the crash.

Filing a Claim

Filing a suit after an MTA train accident can be complicated, as it is often difficult to discern who was at fault, especially when multiple parties were involved. To help determine the cause of these types of accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducts investigations into all MTA train accidents, although other government agencies, in addition to the MTA itself and local or state police officers, may also conduct independent investigations. In most cases, the results of these investigations will reveal the cause of an accident and the responsible parties. However, these investigations are not always conducted extensively or in good faith, so it is still important for accident victims to retain an attorney who can also closely investigate the cause of the accident. Responsible parties could include one or more of the following individuals or entities:

  • The MTA;
  • A specific train crew;
  • A train’s operator;
  • Negligent drivers or pedestrians;
  • Train equipment manufacturers; or
  • The agency responsible for designing or maintaining the tracks.

However, it is not uncommon for more than one party to be held responsible for damages, as many train accidents can be attributed to more than one person or entity. For instance, a few years ago, a woman lost her life when she drove her SUV onto the tracks in the path of an oncoming train. Five other passengers were also tragically killed. Although investigators were unable to determine why the woman continued to drive forward even after a crossing arm came down, they did find that the severity of the accident could also be attributed to the state of the track itself, as the electrified rail was constructed in such a manner that it actually ripped away and tore through the train on impact. Further investigations by the driver’s widower revealed that the signs painted on the road pavement warning drivers that a crossing was ahead were most likely hidden by vehicles traveling above.
Regardless of who was at fault, injured parties who are thinking about filing a lawsuit against the MTA should be aware that they only have a limited time, 90 days from the date of the accident, in which they can file a notice of claim. Plaintiffs who miss this deadline will most likely have their claims denied outright.

Compensation for MTA Train Accidents

Successful plaintiffs who are able to demonstrate that the MTA or another person or entity was responsible for a train accident are eligible to recover significant damages, including compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Property damage;
  • Loss of future income;
  • The cost of maintaining a household during recovery;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of companionship;
  • Decreased enjoyment of life;
  • Disability or disfigurement; and
  • Funeral or burial costs.

It’s also important for accident victims to note that federal law limits the amount that injured railway passengers can collect to $200 million total. This is true regardless of the number of individuals harmed in the accident or the degree of the MTA’s negligence. This threshold is all-encompassing and so applies equally to punitive damages, which are usually awarded in cases of especially egregious negligence and are intended to deter similar behavior in the future.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Dedicated MTA Train Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in a train accident in New York, you could be eligible for damages. To learn more about your legal rights and obligations, please contact one of the experienced MTA train accident attorneys at Pottroff & Karlin, LLC by calling 785-539-4656 or by sending us an online message today. A member of our legal team is standing by and eager to begin working on your case.

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Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James PerrinLubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluenHarriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. MillerMandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. ClarkAustin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert SchuetzeBoulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike EasleyArkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger BrownJefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth HardyLake Charles, Louisiana